Olive growing systems: from conventional to biodynamic
Conventional, organic, integrated production and biodynamic. The olive growing can be carried out following the precepts of each of the mentioned systems. They are different from each other but coincide in their objective, applying each of them we obtain fruits that offer the best of themselves in each harvest. In Magnun Sess we bet for the conventional and for the organic to offer our clients extra virgin olive oils of great quality.
It is well known that extra virgin olive oil is the pure juice of olives obtained through mechanical procedures. A product that treasures countless benefits and which can be obtained from olive groves cultivated under different production models.
There is no doubt that the knowledge accumulated by the professional experts who work in the olive grove has made possible the development of multiple techniques and options for the cultivation of the olive grove, so rooted in the culture of the Mediterranean peoples with 3 thousand years of history.
The olive grove is one of the most widespread crops in Spain, currently covering an area of around 2.65 million hectares. Although its origins date back to the time of the Phoenicians who, back in 1100 BC, introduced the olive tree into the Iberian Peninsula.
4 models of olive growing
Considering the philosophy of the olive grower, as well as the new demands of food safety, environmental protection and other socio-cultural trends, there are various systems of growing olive trees through which fruits (olives) are obtained from which, subsequently, exquisite extra virgin olive oils (aoves) will be obtained.
Conventional cultivation is an agricultural production system that uses partially or totally synthetic chemicals, such as phytosanitary products (fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides). Traditional olive growing is mainly characterised by agricultural mechanisation, although there are exceptions.
It is defined as a set of agricultural techniques applicable to agriculture and livestock farming, whose main objective is none other than to preserve the environment, restore diversity, maintain or increase soil fertility and provide food with all its natural properties. To achieve this, farmers do not use synthetic chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, etc.
Integrated production is an agricultural system that uses techniques compatible with the protection and improvement of the environment, natural resources, genetic diversity and the conservation of soil and landscape. Halfway between conventional and organic production, this practice allows the use of synthetic agrochemicals (fertilizers, pesticides, etc.), but in a limited way and only if there are no viable alternatives
Much more restrictive and demanding than any of the traditional, integrated and organic cultivation systems, this technique dates back to 1924 on the basis of the theories of the Austrian Rudolf Steiner, the father of anthroposophy.
Organic production is regulated by the international organisation Demeter, which certifies the fulfilment of all its precepts, among which are the minimisation of contributions from external sources to the farms, the guarantee of its impermeability to possible cross-contamination from neighbouring fields and the annual application of certain biodynamic preparations as well as the use of own fertilisers from the farm itself.
The Demeter Certification Office in Spain considers that “the farm is considered to be an organism in which plants, animals and human beings are jointly integrated”. Therefore, “Biodynamic farmers give back more to the land than they take away from it when they grow crops and raise animals”.
Conventional and organic at Magnun Sess
Any of the 4 production models mentioned is capable of providing healthy and optimal fruit for the extraction of its juice. The adoption of one or the other will depend on the decision of the company in charge of exploiting the olive grove.
At Mangun Sess we are committed to a traditional mechanized and irrigated conventional cultivation. In our farms in Andujar, we subject our trees to a careful process of care and work that includes the application of plant covers for the protection of the soil avoiding its erosion, the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainability of the olive grove. From this way, we obtain higher quality crops.
But we also advocate a sustainable production system through which we carry out rational land management, adopting agricultural practices that respect the natural environment and its biodiversity. The organic olive grove, as we have indicated, does not use either synthetic fertilizers or chemical pesticides and uses only organic fertilizers.
If you are passionate about the wonderful world of olive growing, you can also read this post in which we talk about the phenological states of the olive tree.