FOLLOW-UP OLIVAR 2022-July: Stone formation and olive fattening.

Picual mergaoliva olive pits

After the month of June, the formation and hardening of the olive stone has taken place. It has been delayed by a few days compared to previous years; we have already commented in other articles on the alterations caused by climate change and the scarcity of rainfall in our area of Jaén. Although it is not only our area that is affected in this sense: it seems to be something more generalised and we have to get used to it or adapt to it.

The countryside continues to suffer from the water stress that we have already mentioned, and each day that passes is becoming more acute due to the high temperatures that are accompanying us day after day. Now they call them "heat waves", although it is more like a "heat tsunami". Water resources are also becoming scarcer by the day: just look at the state of our reservoirs. Irrigation is being hit hard by this lack of water for irrigation. All of this is leading us to a state of desperation about which there is little we can do.

picual variety mergaoliva

Fruit set was greatly reduced during flowering. I would venture to say that the season will be a quarter of what it should be. When the harvest comes and the figures are in, we will see the reality. This will be another of the factors that cause ruin in agriculture, in this case the olive grove.

The olives of some olive trees, as long as we are talking about irrigated olive groves, are of considerable size, bearing in mind that the amount of fruit is very small this year. As there are few olives, the olive tree develops them better (as long as it can do so with the help of irrigation water). The rainfed olive grove is a world apart: the fruit is very small, in most cases it is suffering from the dryness and heat (small and wrinkled olives), and very little fruit is likely to arrive until harvest time. Not only that, but lipogenesis (oil formation in the olive) will also be greatly affected, resulting in a low fat yield.

Traditional olive grove with vegetation cover

At Mergaoliva, we continue to provide our soil with those microorganisms that we have talked about before, trying to recover the life of the subsoil that is so deficient in olive groves.

In this case, we provide microorganisms through irrigation to one of our longest-lived farms. They will act as dosing agents for the existing nutrients, improving their assimilation and adding special characteristics to the fruit. Let's not forget that, from this well fed olive, we will obtain an Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) of SUPERIOR CATEGORY, product of an ECOLOGICAL AGRICULTURE cultivation.

Traditional olive grove with vegetation cover

In the meantime, Mergaoliva continues with its work to try to maintain the low harvest that is expected. A good part of our olive groves have the remains of the plant cover that existed until last spring, and now they act as a "hat" to suffocate the intense temperatures caused by the incidence of the sun on the soil. It has been proven with a meter that the difference in temperature of a soil devoid of grass or plant cover differs by almost 30ºC from a soil with that plant cover or grass.

Digital olive grove temperature meter
Olivar tradicional bebedero animales
Olivar tradicional con cubierta vegetal

Our lifelong fountains and springs have been lost, partly due to climatic circumstances, partly due to the lack of care given to them. The streams have also lost their flows, even if they were scarce. As a result, it is very difficult for the existing fauna to find water for their sustenance. Mergaoliva, in order to take care of the environment, offers drinking troughs for these animals in the surroundings of the olive grove. Just a few days ago we were able to find a baby owl that was quite stunned, possibly due to the excessive heat and lack of water.

Breeding of little owls in the countryside of Jaén

It would be a good initiative, on the part of farmers who have irrigation water, to provide these drinking troughs for the animals: it is up to EVERYONE to contribute a "grain of sand" to the ECOSYSTEM. Not only do we help them to survive and maintain a balance in nature, but we also prevent them from gnawing the pipes that we have in the irrigation installations in their search for water.

Lipogenesis will soon take place and we are trying to prepare the olive grove for this great moment. In the meantime, we will be enduring the hot days that are still to come.

Juan José Mercado Gavilán.

Lahiguera on 31 July 2022.

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