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Golden night for Australian International Olive Awards

2018 December

Awards results 2018 Olive Industry Conference & Exhibition DIY grafting Soil moisture monitoring







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Contents December 2018 Issue 110

News Incorporating Australian Olive Industry Journal Published by the Australian Olive Association Ltd Publisher Australian Olive Association Ltd Executive Editor Greg Seymour Managing Editor Gerri Nelligan Advertising Gerri Nelligan Production Sandra Noke Subscriptions A one-year subscription (four issues) is: Aust $44 (AOA member discount rate $40), NZ $56 and OS $100 and includes a copy of the annual Australian and New Zealand Olive Industry Directory. Visit to subscribe. Circulation & Advertising Enquiries Contributions Articles and other contributions are welcome and will be published at the discretion of the editor. Photographs are best received as high resolution jpg files via email, and as separate attachments not embedded. Printing Lane Print & Post Adelaide Australian Olive Association ABN 57 072 977 489 PO Box 6661, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153 Australia Ph: (+61) 0478 606 145 E: ISSN 1448-5486 Conditions The opinions expressed in Olivegrower & Processor are not necessarily the opinions of or endorsed by the editor or publisher unless otherwise stated. All articles submitted for publication become the property of the publisher. All material in Olivegrower & Processor is copyright © Australian Olive Association Ltd. All rights reserved.No part may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means (graphic, electronic, or mechanical including information and retrieval systems) without written permission of the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information, the published will not accept responsibility for errors or omissions, or for any consequences arising from reliance on information published.

AOA Board welcomes new President Outgoing President, Peter O’Meara Food media celebrates Australian olive products More questions answered at IPDM field days

4 4 5 8

2018 National Olive Industry Conference & Exhibition New faces and trends at 2018 National Olive Conference Grove management: walking the walk 2018 Conference Sponsors and Exhibitors

9 11 12

Awards EVOO “Essence” takes Australian International Best of Show Cradle Coast Olives: what makes a winner? Rosto ‘Mellow’ about Hunter Olive Show win New Norcia ‘Old Boys’ celebrate Perth Royal win Victorian producers shine at 2018 Sydney Fine Food Taralinga takes Best at 2018 Australian Golden Olive Awards

14 17 18 19 21 22

R&D Insights – Hort Innovation


Irrigation & water saving Soil moisture monitoring: a selection guide


Grove management The (not so hard) graft


New Zealand Wairarapa dominates at 2018 NZ EVOO Awards ONZ Focus Grove Project – October 2018 update

39 41

Olivegrower Profile Michael Coates and Anne Mutimer, Maluka Estate


Olive R&D TasteBook™ sensory training: learning to describe “green” oils and olives and correctly identifying “defects”


Health round-up 48 Products and services National Harvesters


What’s On Calendar of events Advertiser’s index

50 50

Australian International Olive Awards Gold medal winners gathered onstage at the Gala Presentation Dinner to celebrate their achievements. Issue 110 • December 2018 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • 3


AOA Board welcomes new President There’s been a changing of the guard on the AOA Board, with Michael Thomsett elected as the organisation’s new President at the November meeting. Thomsett is a long-term member of the Board and the NSW Director, and said he’s looking forward to following the productive path of his predecessor. “Firstly, I want to thank Peter O’Meara for his great leadership of the board over the past few years. His style has been cohesive and inclusive, based on working together using our collective skills, and that’s the road I’m going to continue down. “I was nominated for the President’s role, which was a great honour, and I accepted gladly. I think I bring a lot to the role due to my long time in the industry and the substantial contacts I’ve made through my business and judging activities. I’ve met a lot of industry people over that 20 years, and have long-lasting friendships and commercial relationships, along with a thorough understanding of the industry from grove to table. “And I like to think I’m a pretty approachable guy, so I hope people will feel comfortable speaking with me about the issues they’re having, and give me their suggestions for ways the association could represent them. It’s really important to me that I’m accessible to all members, and also to the wider industry.”

Presidential plans

Thomsett said he’s keen to keep the momentum going across the broad-ranging industry activities already being undertaken by the organisation. “I want to continue the successes built by the AOA recently, particularly in regard to growing membership, Code of Practice OliveCare participation and the Australian International Olive Awards,” he said. “I’ll be working closely with all stakeholders, and I’m keen to build the interactive side of what we do with things like the IPDM extension project, which is field-based, local and dealing with issues that are directly relevant to growers. “And in the long-term, I’m concerned about how the industry is prepared for reacting to climate change locally and nationally. Looking at strategies for adaption is a really important thing that I’d like to take further with the industry.”

Long-term NSW Director Michael Thomsett (left) has been elected by the AOA Board to take over the AOA President’s role from Peter O’Meara.


CEO Greg Seymour said Thomsett’s appointment brings a host of benefits. “Most importantly, it provides the board and the organisation with continuity. Mike has been on the board for a number of years, and since well before I started,” he said. “We’ve just appointed three new directors, and with Peter going we’ll have four new directors. That’s half the board, so that continuity is very important. “As a horticultural consultant, Mike has a very good technical base and he is active on a number of our committees – biosecurity, grove productivity, risk management - which are all important parts of the AOA’s core business. “He’s very enthusiastic, is widely respected across the industry and is easy for growers to talk to, which are fantastic assets. “We already have established a good working relationship through the Board and IPDM field day program, and I’m looking forward to working with him to continue the momentum within the organisation which has been developed in recent years.”

Outgoing President, Peter O’Meara When I was elected President of the Australian Olive Association I said I would resign from the role in three years. This was because I believe that one of the hallmarks of a vibrant organisation is that it cherishes new ideas and innovation. During my term we have made some important changes that are having a positive influence on the operation of the AOA and this will continue in future years. We have seen a significant improvement in our finances; re-structured and clarified the relationships between the AOA and State bodies to create a modern and efficient structure; made big improvements in our member communications; and enjoyed solid working relations with Hort Innovation, who oversees the olive levy investment program. The AOA is recognised by the Federal

Government as the Peak Industry Body for the olive industry in Australia. As such we have many stakeholders – members, other industries, government bodies, the communities in which we work and the International Olive Council. But we never lose sight of our core focus on member needs. The Australian olive industry has developed a leadership position internationally with an unrelenting focus on product quality and standards, and the AOA has worked diligently on exploiting this to grow the industry size and profitability. We have also increased our activities in member communications and grower skills. There is still much to be done but we are well positioned to strengthen our place in the world.

4 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018 • Issue 110

So my three year term has completed and I have stepped down. I must say that I do so with some regret since I have really enjoyed the company of my fellow board members and the opportunity to meet a wide range of AOA members – from the smallest to the largest. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity, and I encourage all members to consider nominating for the board when they have the chance. We are blessed with a quality board and a small but hard working staff and I am confident they will continue to grow the support for the industry. I wish all members of the AOA great success and thank them for their support during my term in office. Peter O’Meara


AIOA Best EVOO of Show winner Tony O’Neil of Cradle Coast Olives with nutritionist Joanna McMillan.

Food media celebrates Australian olive products Some of the most influential members of the Australian food, food service and health media gathered in Sydney in late October for the annual Australian Olive Association Media Luncheon, showcasing the best of the 2018 harvest and AOIA winning-products. They joined growers and industry representatives for the event, which provided a face-to-face opportunity to


promote Australian EVOO and table olives. It was also a chance to update the assembled influencers and communicators on both the industry and the quality and health benefits of our fresh, home-grown products. The gathering started at La Rosa Restaurant with a “tasting table” of 11 award-winning Australian EVOOs and olives, then moved on to Pendolino for a


three course lunch created especially for the event by Chef Nino Zoccali – each course using one of the AIOA’s top scoring EVOOs. AOA CEO Greg Seymour said kicking off with the tasting table was a great addition to the event, and reinforced its purpose. “It’s the olive industry’s big day in the sunshine as far as the food, health and food service media are concerned. It’s all about



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Issue 110 • December 2018 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • 5


Guests included food publishing representatives Fran Abdallaoui, Australian Women’s Weekly Food Director, and Lisa Featherby, Australian Gourmet Traveller Senior Food Editor.

connecting with our media colleagues to celebrate the great things in our industry and the great products from the current season,” he said. “So this year we put on a tasting spread – beautiful big bowls of oils and olives – and set them loose to explore them. It wasn’t all the top winning products: it was about showcasing a varietal and geographical range of oils and olives which provided a diversity of flavours – and with olives the different production methods - so the media understands the great range of olive products that are available to Australian consumers. “It proved hugely successful. There was excitement at the opportunity to taste the products and to discuss them, and they raced around tasting as many as they could before heading off to lunch.

The Tasting Table was a popular addition to this year’s event, introducing guests to a variety of Australian EVOOs and table olives.

“We wanted to ensure that the key influencers understand what’s really going on in our industry, and from a product point of view that gave them a great grounding.”

Who’s who in food and health media

The guest list covered many of the country’s most prominent food media outlets, including the Australian Women’s Weekly, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Delicious, Super Food Ideas, Fresh, Weight Watchers, Sydney Food Sisters, and Coles Magazine. Major food service publications Food & Drink, Food Service and Hospitality were also represented, along with health professionals and influencers including high-profile dieticians Catherine Saxelby and Joanna McMillian. Adding to the profile were ABC Radio presenter Chris Bath, SBS presenter Maeve O’Meara and Nine Honey’s Natasha Malon.

I learnt so much about a product I am already so passionate about, and met so many interesting people who were so giving of their knowledge. It was definitely an eye opener on the Australian EVOO and olive industry - Effi Tsoukatos, Sydney Food Sisters

Modern Olives laboratory manager Claudia Guillaume obviously enjoyed her discussions with TV food show presenter Maeve O’Meara.

Seymour said the audience reach of the collected guests made for an outstanding opportunity to share the industry’s core messages about freshness, flavour and uniqueness.

6 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018 • Issue 110

Thank you again for inviting me to the Australian Olive Association media luncheon. It was a pleasure learning all about Australia’s bounty of superior olives and olive oils - Carolyn Brasher,

“We had a great response rate and really high calibre people there, so we definitely made the most of it” he said. “I asked each of the growers with products on the tasting table to get up and describe the type of oil or olives they produce and how they go about it, and Nino interviewed Tony O’Neil and Leon Bettio about their practices. The audience loved it. “While it was people and their products, it was about promoting the industry as a whole and continuing the quality story – so of course we told them how many medals we scored overseas this year as well.

Spreading the word

“Everybody loved the day and left excited about the quality of Australian products. Freshness really made an impact – it’s definitely our USP – and they’ve been spreading the word ever since. Within a week there had been articles in online publications, photos and blogs posted, requests for information for further articles and features lined up on several of the growers. “That’s one of the big reasons for the event: we spread the word to them so they can spread it even further – and they do.”

PHONE: 03 5272 9500


More questions answered at IPDM field days The AOA’s program of integrated pest and disease management (IPDM) field days has continued its successful trek around the country, with enthusiastic attendance at November events in Queensland and South Australia. The record to date saw more than 50 growers gather for the Roseworthy event, run in collaboration with Olives SA, with invaluable grove management information shared across a wide range of topics.

The program

The IPDM plenary sessions are the main focus of the day, covering pretty much everything you could want to know about identifying and dealing with pests and diseases in your grove. Topics include: Principles and practices of IPDM; Monitoring for pests, diseases and beneficial species; Biology and life cycles of key pests and diseases; Factors influencing pest and disease spread and incidence in groves; Strategies for conventional and organic management advantages and disadvantages; Importance of timing, application and targeting of interventions. The field activities then build on that information, providing the opportunity to put learning into practice during the grove walk and discussion. Value-adding growers’ travel to the field days, the AOA has included an additional range of topics to the IPDM project information, creating a comprehensive day of learning and networking. Sessions include: Risk management and Biosecurity; Grove management – Irrigation, Nutrition and soil health, Pruning/tree management; and Product quality improvement - OliveCare best practice.

Enjoying the pest inspecting activities in the grove at the Roseworthy IPDM field day was Nangkita Olives’ Kathy Harbison (left), with Kym and Karen Stanitzki of Barkers Rocks Farm.

the informal post-event networking dinner provides an opportunity for participants to get one-on-one with the experts to discuss issues of relevance to their own groves and businesses. The field day program is part of the olive-levy funded project: ‘An integrated pest and disease management extension program for the olive industry’ (OL17001), aimed at addressing the difficulties many small to medium growers face in managing pests and disease.

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Mobile: Kent 0428 829 024 Mobile: Michelle 0448 965 349 PO Box 114 Riverton SA 5412 Email: 8 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018 • Issue 110

2018 National Olive Industry Conference & Exhibition

New faces and trends at 2018 National Olive Conference Listening, learning, questioning, discussing sourcing, networking … it was all happening at the 2018 National Olive Industry Conference & Exhibition, held in October in Wagga Wagga. New faces

This year’s broad-reaching program attracted a strong number of delegates and industry stakeholders, with a notable proliferation of new faces among the crowd. While some had simply not attended the annual conference for a while, many others were relatively new to the industry - having either bought existing groves or with new plantings coming online – and all were keen to gain insight into best practice management for their groves and businesses.

Wide-ranging information

The plenary sessions started focussed in the grove, with presentations on the impact of climate change on the Australian industry, the use of drones for management efficiency and diagnostics, and an overview of the Olives New Zealand Focus Grove Project. Delegates were impressed by the results achieved by the project, aimed at improving viability via structured grove management practices, which has seen a dramatic increase in both tree health and crops across the study groves. These were followed on day two by sessions on mechanical harvesting of table olives and irrigation management, providing delegates with a wide-ranging store of practical knowledge and information to take into their own groves.

Olives and health also featured strongly in the program, with sessions on personalised nutrition, evidence-based research and the health benefits of table olives all gaining enthusiastic attention - and plenty of questions for presenters. And on the olive “business” side of the industry, there was information on current EVOO and table olives market trends, the consumer Everyday marketing campaign, the use of megatronics for increased extraction and how to get your legal ducks lined up in case of accident or incapacity.

Table olives trending

Friday morning’s program of concurrent sessions reflected the recent strong interest in table olive production among Australian growers, with delegates filling the chairs across all of the table olive presentations. Q&A sessions were again well utilised, with a plethora of questions on the hows, how nots and whys of all things table olives asked of the presenters, a global gathering of experts in table olive growing, production, quality and marketing. The trend spilled over to Saturday’s optional program, where a contingent of 50+ made it standing room only at the Wollundry Grove table olive workshop with South African expert Linda Costa.

NZ’s Andrew Taylor (centre) and other presenters took home gift packs of local olive products from Wollundry Grove. Owners Bruce Spinks and Joo-Yee Lieu also hosted the Saturday table olive workshop, grove walk and pizza evening.

Field sessions

Also popular were the field events, one held at Charles Sturt University as part of the Friday conference program and the other at Wollundry Grove on Saturday. The CSU event gave delegates the chance to see firsthand how EVOO and olives are tested, in the NSW DPI lab and by the sensory panel, and both sessions provided the opportunity for group learning and discussions during grove walks led by a panel of horticultural experts. As with the plenary sessions and workshops, the opportunity to ask questions was enthusiastically embraced, and many growers took home answers to their own grove management issues.

Play time

Among all the “work” there was also time for play, and the social activities were among the highlights of this year’s event. The inaugural AOA Conference Dinner was held on the Thursday night, with networking drinks and canapes followed by a hearty dinner – and eventually singing - at Wagga’s original “gentlemen’s club”. Then on Friday night it was time to celebrate the best of the best at the Australian International Olive Awards Gala Presentation Dinner, where the accolades flowed, congratulations abounded and

Issue 110 • December 2018 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • 9

2018 National Olive Industry Conference & Exhibition

The Conference Dinner was held on Thursday night, with networking drinks and canapes followed by dinner at Wagga’s original “gentlemen’s club”.

Jamie Ayton hosted a tour of the NSWDPI laboratory, giving delegates a chance to see first-hand how oil is tested.

(another) extremely good night was had by all. And while more low-key, Saturday night’s pizza and drinks get-together at Wollundry Grove was a fitting end to a jam-packed three days, providing a chance to relax and wind down before heading home.

Positive feedback

AOA CEO Greg Seymour said this year’s organising team were happy with the result, with most attendees rating the conference a great success. “We want to thank everyone who attended, participated and volunteered their time to make this year’s conference and trade exhibition such a well-attended and enjoyable event,” he said.

The booked-out table olive workshop with South African expert Linda Costa reflected the strong interest in table olives among attendees.

“We’ve received some very positive and constructive feedback from speakers and attendees, and have fed that into the planning for next year’s event in Albury, which is already well underway.

“People liked the format of this year’s event, so we’re looking forward to putting on another jam-packed quality program of plenary sessions, field sessions and evening functions in 2019.”

The 2018 speaker presentations are now available on the Conference website: The conference is facilitated through the project National olive industry conference and trade exhibition (OL16010), funded by Hort Innovation using olive R&D levy funds and contributions from the Australian Government, with in-kind support from the Australian Olive Association.

Save the date

AOA National Olive Industry Conference & Exhibition 2019 Albury, NSW • Wednesday, 16 October – AOA AGM & Delegate welcome function • Thursday, 17 & Friday, 18 October – Conference • Saturday, 19 October – Optional workshop and field visit program w w w.nationaloli vec onfer ence.c 10 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018 • Issue 110

2018 National Olive Industry Conference & Exhibition

With chainsaw in hand, NZ grove consultant Andrew Taylor demonstrated rejuvenation pruning on the trees at Wollundry grove.

Grove management: walking the walk Mike Thomsett

Among the most popular sessions at this year’s Conference were the grove walks, held on the Friday at Charles Sturt University and Saturday at Wollundry Grove. Combining information from industry experts with hands-on demonstration in the field, they provided delegates with an unprecedented opportunity for practical learning. Mike Thomsett has provided an overview for those who were unable to attend the Conference. There was a tremendous amount of information disseminated during the grove walks at the recent AOA national conference in Wagga Wagga, and I wanted to share some of the most important messages which emerged.

The canopy “battery”

We were able to share our local experiences first-hand with New Zealand horticulturist Andrew Taylor, who was here as a guest speaker, and he provided some valuable insight into appropriate best management practices. Andrew’s message was of the leaf canopy being the battery of the tree, and the importance of maintaining that canopy in a healthy state to maximise photosynthesis benefits. In the groves we visited, the discussion particularly emphasised rejuvenation of the tree structure and canopy to reinvigorate the tree toward continued and increased production with a longer term strategy. Some reflections on the trees were: * Cercospora was established in the canopies of these groves, which had a large incidence of dead wood and defoliation. There were twigs and branches without any leaf inside the canopy, and particularly around the skirt of the trees, from defoliant fungal disease. Fungal disease management programs are a necessity! * Then higher in the canopies of those trees in many instances the oldest leaf was from the last season’s growth only, with no leaves remaining from the previous year or the one before that. * Tufting or growth of short intermodal distance with as little as a dozen leaves was seen on the extremities of the canopy area. This indicated starkly that the tree’s “battery” was only at 20% of full charge, as this was

the remaining leaf area of the available canopy volume. *We need to think about the leaf area needed to capture the sunlight to provide the tree with the energy it requires, and then ensure the tree is carrying that leaf canopy. Tree reinvigoration is the immediate approach, with ongoing disease management needed to maintain the healthy foliage.

Putting theory into practice

Charles Sturt University (CSU) grove manager Michael Gentle and Wollundry Grove owners Bruce and Joo-Yee Sprinks gave AndrewTaylor the opportunity to critique their groves with those messages. Fortuitously, and as a good horticulturist does, I turned up with my ute containing an arborist’s chainsaw. Mike had already pruned the CSU grove, removing most of the old unproductive skirts there. Andrew was able to show that where appropriate cuts to the scaffold of the tree had been made, the stimulation and growth promotion he was looking to achieve had occurred. So with chainsaw in hand, Andrew went on the next day to demonstrate the cuts required to achieve rejuvenation on the trees at Wollundry grove. The method entails approaching the tree, initially from the north, and truncating the main limb to the base of the scaffold, from where the new shoots will emerge. Depending on the variety, you may leave a short stump. The remaining limbs are left for another season,

once the cut limb re-grows into production. In the short term this effectively reduces production for around three seasons, due to the proportion of the canopy that has been removed but the newly productive limb will then replace the next limb requiring the chainsaw cut in that season.

The end result

And hence a continual rejuvenation of the scaffold and canopy takes place, improving the overall productive surface area of your canopies as the seasons roll on. This process over the following years thus completely re-establishes a younger, healthier productive canopy The benefits of this pruning, as with most pruning strategies, are: improves light and air circulation, the preferred status for the productive area of the canopy; aids cultural practices such as spray penetration and efficacy; and creates a less hospitable environment for pests and, in these instances particularly, diseases. Note: as with all big pruning cuts and where the trunk is suddenly exposed, it is recommended to apply a mixture of copper hydroxide in diluted ‘white’ plastic paint to the exposed surfaces and recently pruned cuts. This will assist in sealing cuts and work effectively as a sunscreen, while also holding the copper as preventative fungicidal treatment.

More grove sessions in February If you missed out on the Conference grove sessions, further great opportunities for hands-on learning and discussion are available at the final three AOA Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM) Field Days, being held in WA and Victoria in February. Full details and registration are available on the Olivebiz website under the IPDM drop-down.

Issue 110 • December 2018 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • 11

2018 National Olive Industry Conference & Exhibition - Sponsors & Exhibitors




2018 Conference Sponsors and Exhibitors Face-to-face expert advice and information

Event sponsors and exhibitors are an integral part of the annual industry Conference & Trade Exhibition, directly showing their support of the industry through their participation in the event. Their financial support enables the AOA to keep delegate registration fees consistently affordable, while their attendance allows delegates direct access to the latest industry-specific products and services available. And most importantly, the chance to speak to the people who make, sell and service them, getting first-hand answers and expert advice – and discover new ways to improve your grove and business practices.

Service all year round 4



Throughout the year those businesses continue to support our industry through the provision of those goods and services – and that invaluable



12 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018 • Issue 110

2018 National Olive Industry Conference & Exhibition - Sponsors & Exhibitors

2018 National Industry Conference Sponsors & Trade Exhibitors Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor Australian Olive Association Bioactive Soil Solutions CI Scientific Closures Online – Sponsor Deltagen Australia Felco Australia Hort Innovation Modern Olives – Gold Sponsor Netafim – Platinum Sponsor NSW Department of Primary Industries Olive Oil Packaging Service Olive Wellness Institute Tornado Pumps & Sprayers





advice - playing an important role in producing the quality olive products that Australia is increasingly becoming recognised for. They’re out there looking for new things that can help you become better, more efficient and more profitable producers, and then they’re providing access to those tools. The AOA greatly appreciates the invaluable support provided to hold the 2017 AOA National Olive Industry Conference & Trade Exhibition, and encourages all industry members to in turn support the businesses which sponsored and/or exhibited at the event. A big thank you to all for your generous support. You’ll find information about the products and services offered by all of the Sponsors and Exhibitors, along with web and contact details, on the Conference website:


12 1. Tornado Pumps & Sprayers’ Paul Blasutto (left) and David Barker, Taralinga Estate. 2. Nick and Carla Aoun, with Olive Oil Packaging Services’ Kent Hallett (right). 3.Michele Sheward, Paradox Olive Grove (left), Tastebook’s Shane Cummins, Isabelle Okis and Gene Whiting, Goodview. 4. A  OA admin manager Liz Bouzoudis and Gene Whiting, Goodview.


5. Dr Dane Thomas, SARDI (left), Modern Olives’ Laura Spalding and Peter Nixon, and Dr Amy Logan, CSIRO.

9. Mark Norris, Waterloo Olives, NSW DPI’s Chris Wallace (centre) and Donna Seberry.

6. Gamila MacRury, Gamila’s at Beechworth, and Hort Innovation’s Brad Mills. 7. Annetta Paterson, Nullamunjie Olive Oil and Felco Australia’s Chris Pyke. 8. D  eltagen’s Adrian Dinsdale (left) and Tony O’Neil, Cradle Coast Olives.

11. Olive Wellness Institute’a Jacqui Plozza and Carol O’Neil, Cradle Coast Olives.

10. Bioactive Soil Solution’s Damien Heintze with Peter Chagaris, White Chapel Grove.

12. Terry Mau, Karte Olives (left), CI Scientific’s Jurgen Cyrulla and Emma Vercoe, Cicada.

Issue 110 • December 2018 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • 13


EVOO “Essence” takes Australian International Best of Show

Below: Donna Seberry, NSW DPI, David Hannaford & Robin Kesby, Hannaford Olive Oil, Belinda Taylor, NSW DPI - Best EVOO of State NSW

Tasmanian producer Cradle Coast Olives took the coveted Best EVOO of Show title at the 2018 Australian International Olive Awards, earning the judges’ highest score for its “Essence of the Cradle” South Australian Verdale varietal. Beating a strong field of gold-medal winning entries, Cradle Coast owners Carol and Tony O’Neill took home a swag of trophies for Essence of the Cradle, including Champion Mild EVOO, Best Tasmanian EVOO, Best Australian EVOO and Best Southern Hemisphere EVOO, along with the Champion Medium EVOO award for their Paragon varietal. Joining them as major category winners were NSW producer Gooramadda Olives, which won the Best Table Olive of Show and Best Table Olive Southern Hemisphere awards

Of particular interest was a substantial increase in the number of more robust oils entered this year, compared to last year where mild and medium oil numbers were greater. Trudie Michels Competition Chief Steward for its Kalamata, and Victoria’s Kyneton Olive Oil, which took home Best Flavoured Olive Oil of Show for its Basil Agrumato. Spanish producer Goya championed in both oil and table olive categories, taking the Best EVOO Northern Hemisphere award for its Goya® “Unico” and the Best Table Olive Northern Hemisphere for its Manzanilla Stuffed with Minced Hot Pepper.

Raising the bar

Competition Chief Steward Trudie Michels said this year’s results were a testament to the continuing commitment to increasing quality across the industry. “Last year’s very successful show saw medals awarded to 87% of entries, which

14 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018 • Issue 110


was a record for the 21 years of the Australian competition. This year an incredible 96% of entries were awarded a medal, raising the quality bar to a completely new level,” she said. “Of the 145 medals awarded in this year’s extra virgin olive oil competition, 30 were

gold (27 in 2017), 69 silver (69 in 2017) and 46 bronze (46 in 2017). The increase in gold medals and the large number of silver medals highlights a stronger focus on oil quality, as does the average score across all oils - 78.67, which equates to a solid silver. “It reinforces our findings from last year,

with the new benchmark in this competition now set at medium-high silver, where in the past it has been a bronze. It is fulfilling to see the industry working hard to raise quality and produce more of these higher-class oils, and wonderful to see producers being rewarded for those efforts.”


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Free fatty acids, peroxide value, UV absorption and sensory analysis

n For the IOC and AOCS Period of Recognition, please refer to the website

Issue 110 • December 2018 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • 15


Peter & Helen Wright, Grassy Spur Olives – Champion Spanish EVOO.

Peter & Marlies Eicher, Salute Oliva Champion Dried Olives.

Top-left: Caileigh Mudge, Kent Hallett & Elizabeth Johnson - 2018 Young Judges.

Same but different

Michels said that while the quality reflected that of last year’s “outstanding year”, there were several notable differences to this year’s spread of entries – and winners. “Of particular interest was a substantial increase in the number of more robust oils entered this year, compared to last year where mild and medium oil numbers were greater,” she said. “It was also notable that all but one of the eight EVOO Champion of Class awards went to single varietal oils, and each of those seven were different varieties. It shows we’re

Philip Crossley, Goya En España - Best EVOO & Table Olives, Northern Hemisphere.

Tony & Carol O’Neil, Cradle Coast Olives – Best EVOO of Show.

2018 AIOA Major Awards Best EVOO of Show – Cradle Coast Olives Essence of the Cradle Best Table Olive of Show – Gooramadda Olives Kalamata Best Flavoured Olive Oil of Show – Bylands Estate Basil Agrumato Best EVOO Southern Hemisphere – Cradle Coast Olives Best EVOO Northern Hemisphere – Goya En España S.A.U Best Table Olive Southern Hemisphere – Gooramadda Olives Best Table Olive Northern Hemisphere – Goya En España S.A.U Best Australian EVOO – Cradle Coast Olives Best Australian Table Olive – Gooramadda Olives Best New South Wales/ACT EVOO – Hannaford Olive Oil Best South Australian EVOO – Romley Estate Best Tasmanian EVOO – Cradle Coast Olives Best Victorian EVOO – Nullamunjie Olive Oil Best Western Australian EVOO – Chapman River Olives

16 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018 • Issue 110

Ed & Emma Vercoe, Cicada Champion Green Table Olives.

choosing varieties well suited to our climates, and growing them all well, and also that we’re increasingly recognising and celebrating the flavour nuances of the individual varieties.” Full results are available at:

Champion Mild EVOO – Cradle Coast Olives Champion Medium EVOO – Cradle Coast Olives Champion Robust EVOO – Lentara Grove Champion Non-Packaged (Bulk) EVOO – Nasmin Pty Ltd Champion Spanish Varietal EVOO – Grassy Spur Olives Champion Italian Varietal EVOO – Cape Schanck Olive Estate Champion Greek Varietal EVOO – Romley Estate Champion Other Varietal EVOO – Longnan Xiangyu Olives Dev. Co. Champion Table Olives – Green Olives – Cicada Pty Ltd Champion Table Olives – Medley of Olives – Alto Olives Champion Table Olives – Kalamata Olives – Gooramadda Olives Champion Table Olives – Wild Olives – Mount Zero Olives Champion Table Olives – Dried Olives – Salute Oliva Champion Table Olives – Stuffed Olives – Goya En España S.A.U


Cradle Coast Olives: what makes a winner? With four national Best of Show trophies on the mantelpiece now, Tony and Carol O’Neil have had a few years to ponder just why their oil is so darned good. “Because we’re in Tassie,” they laughed, before sharing the less parochial reasons. “I always tell people that if you do best practice with everything – growing, picking, pressing – and you’ve got oil to be proud of and then look after it, you can be a winner,” Tony said. “Every step along the way adds up, so don’t ever cut corners. For example, it’s a little hard in the middle of the Tassie winter, picking the olives and getting them into the press – especially while also trying to balance other growers’ needs with your own - but we endeavour always to get them into the press within 24 hours. “Then once they’re in the press we religiously watch the temperature in there. It’s in an insulated cleanroom at 24-26C and we never let it get higher than that. The olives go in cold and it’s only a friction machine, so it keeps the ambient temperature very even. “We know others go up to 30C, and that will certainly give you more oil, but we’re unashamedly after quality not quantity. We get 9-10% yields but that doesn’t worry us because we know it’s exceptional and we know we can get a premium price. “All the things we’ve got here add up as well, of course. We’re really blessed here, with fabulous basalt soil and plenty of gravity fed water for irrigation, but at the end of the day that best practice issue is very important. “That’s why we’re so impressed with the work of the OliveCare program. I don’t think any grower can put too much weight on the need to be a member and to take all those steps to ensure quality. “There’s also all the research Boundary Bend have done and shared so generously. If growers utilise that knowledge in their own operation, they have to end up with a good product.”

Awards = advertising

The O’Neils said their fourth win was just as exciting as their first – and as much of a boon to sales. “It’s just been amazing, a real buzz,” Carol said. “Our oil is just running out the door, in the post and down every other avenue it can disappear into. “I think this year too, the way the awards were handled and with the press releases, word did get out more. We’ve had interviews

Four times Best of Show winners Tony and Carol O’Neil attribute their success to a commitment to best practice from grove to bottle.

on radio, a couple of press article already and there are others coming in the next few weeks. “It validates our initial reason for going into the shows. Being small, we never had a lot of money for advertising, so we agreed we’d enter the awards and see where it takes us. Sure enough, once you get a medal or two it becomes very contagious.” And Tony said they’re practising what they preach. “We tell all the growers who come to us “put it in a show, get a medal if you can – and if you follow all the steps you will – and that will sell your oil.” “It really makes a difference, especially at farmers markets, and if you can back up that it really is excellent with something like the OliveCare approval, that will really lift your sales.”

… and personal reward

Just as important, the O’Neils say, is the personal reward for all the effort which goes into making an award-winning oil. “I‘m not a night person, so I generally get up 4am, start the press up and go on until late in the evening. Once you get going it’s

Cradle Coast Olives’ 2018 AIOA Awards Champion Mild EVOO Champion Medium EVOO Best Tasmanian EVOO Best Australian EVOO Best Southern Hemisphere EVOO Best EVOO of Show. okay and it doesn’t worry me,” Tony said. “But this year we began pressing on the last day in April and ended in the last week in September – non-stop, with only a threefour week break in August. It was a really long season and sometimes you do ask why you’re doing it. “When you end up getting this sort of recognition for your efforts, though, it all pales into insignificance. No one should be growing olives unless they’ve got the passion and in the end, the long hours to get what we did at the end is worth it. And amazing – we never get used to it.” More information: www.cradlecoastolives.

Issue 110 • December 2018 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • 17


Peter Herborn accepted the The Hunter Bottling Company Award for the Most Successful Exhibitor of Show on behalf of Hunter Valley Olive Growers and Sellers.

Celebrating their double “Best of” success at the awards presentation were the Rosto harvesting team (from left) Tahli Gleeson, Joel Gill, Wendy Gill, Chris Gill and Steve Higgs.

(Right) Competition organisers Allan Smith and Steven Mitchell were extremely happy with the wide geographical entry range and high standard of this year’s entries.

Rosto ‘Mellow’ about Hunter Olive Show win The Hunter Olive Show’s Best EVOO of Show title stayed close to home this year, awarded to Rosto Olive Grove from the New South Wales Upper Hunter region. Rosto’s ‘Mellow’ topped the Class 1 Mild EVOO entries, and was also awarded Best EVOO from Hunter Valley Fruit. The table olive classes also saw local success, with Olives from Broke taking the Best Table Olive of Show title for the second year running. Their deliciously named Black Olives spiced with Vanilla and Cumin was also named Best Table Olive from Hunter Valley Fruit. Entrants from further afield were also awarded, with Best EVOO from Tasmanian Fruit won by St Marys Olives, and the Best EVOO from Fruit from NSW excluding the Hunter award was won by Mildura’s Varapodio Estate. Hunter Olive Association Treasurer and competition organiser Alan Smith said this year’s competition showed that the increased focus on quality by producers is certainly paying off. “Given the difficult year that most of Australia has experienced, the judges were impressed by the standard of entries,” he said. “And while overall entries were down from the record number of the 2017 show, competition was fierce across all categories and the high calibre of entries gave the judges some tough decisions. “It was also satisfying to note that this year 42% of entries came from outside of our Hunter Region.”

Affordable feedback

Smith puts the show’s consistently strong participation rate down to the low entry fees and valuable feedback from judges. “With the solid support of our sponsors we are able to keep the show affordable. Entry pricing at $39 for oils and $29 for table olives

Hunter Olive Show Major Awards The Hunter Bottling Company Award for the Most Successful Exhibitor of Show: Hunter Valley Olive Growers and Sellers The Olive Centre Trophy for the Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil of Show: Rosto Olive Grove ‘Mellow’ The De Masi Trophy for the Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil of Show from Hunter Valley Fruit: Rosto Olive Grove ‘Mellow’ The Olives NSW Trophies for Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Tasmania: St Marys Olives The Olives NSW Trophies for Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil from NSW excl. the Hunter Region: Varapodio Estate The Adina Vineyard and Olive Grove Trophy for the Best Infused Oil of Show: Hunter Valley Olive Growers and Sellers The Olives NSW Trophy for the Best Table Olive of Show: Olives from Broke The Ace Ohlsson Trophy for the Best Table Olive from Hunter Valley Fruit: Olives from Broke The Plasdene Glass-Pak Trophy for the Best Tapenade or Olive Spread of Show: Adina Vineyard and Olive Grove means that smaller producers, as well as larger producers, can make multiple entries across many classes,” he said. “We expect to maintain the same entry fees for each class in 2019, and recognise in particular our major sponsor, the Hunter Bottling Company, and our senior sponsor, The Olive Centre, both of whom have supported us for many years. “We also continue with our aim of giving all entrants a good experience of show judging, with special attention given to providing as meaningful feedback as possible for each entry.”

18 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018 • Issue 110


St Ildephonsus Old Boys member Laurie Watson (left) and New Norcia Property Manager Ian Smith (right) accepted the Best Oil Of Show Award from Multi-Color Corporation’s Scott Maclean.

New Norcia ‘Old Boys’ celebrate Perth Royal win Whether it was divine intervention, great grove and production practices or just a good season, there was no arguing about the quality of New Norcia Olive Oil’s 2018 Mission varietal EVOO, named Best Oil of Show at the 2018 Perth Royal Olive Awards. Earning the competition’s highest score of 91 points, the New Norcia Mission also took home a Gold medal and the awards for Best Commercial/Single Grove <5000L and Best WA Oil of Show. Other Best of Show trophy winners included Wren Retreat for Best Boutique, Talbot Estate for Best Commercial Volume, Single Grove >5000L, Cobram Estate Robust for Best Commercial Volume, MultiGrove >5000L and Sathya Olive Company for Best Flavoured.

The stats

This year’s competition saw a total of 89 oils received from 48 entrants, with nine (10.1%) Gold, 42 (47.2%) Silver and 29 (32.6%) Bronze medals awarded. EVOO classes totalled 74 of the entries and flavoured oil classes 15, with 17 entries from interstate (Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and South Australia). Chief Judge Isabelle Okis said the quality of the 2018 entries was a credit to producers. “This season’s oil had an average free fatty acid (FFA) level of 0.2 %, which is an excellent improvement compared to previous years,” she said. “And it was excellent to see that of the 15 flavoured oils entered, which ranged from citrus to garlic, chilli and curry leaf, 14 were awarded medals. “Notable also was that the polyphenol level was average, confirming the medium fruity styles. Perhaps this was due to our long dry summer.”

Wren Retreat’s Susan Moore was thrilled with her Best Boutique Oil of Show win – and her raffle prize, presented by WAOC EO Karen Sanders.

Winning tales

There were a number of interesting stories among this year’s winners, most notably the Best of Show recipient, the Benedictine town of New Norcia and its congregation, who tend one of WA’s original olive groves.

Issue 110 • December 2018 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • 19


Paul Carter, President RASWA and Frederik von Altenstadt, Talbot Grove – Best in Class, Commercial Single Grove

Paul Carter, President RASWA and Russell Lewis, Chapman River Olives, who left with a medal collection comprising two Gold, a Silver and a Bronze.

MC Verity James congratulated North Perth Primary School P & C Association members (from left) Sarah Miles, Karen Moffet, Pippa Ives, Paul Hazelwood, Bryony Dann and Andy Ives on their Silver medal and 2nd in Class win for the school’s fundraising EVOO Harvest 6006.

Major award winners Multi-Color Corporation Trophy for Best Oil of Show: New Norcia Olive Oil - Mission Tarralea Grove Trophy for Best WA Oil of Show: New Norcia Olive Oil - Mission Preston Valley Grove Trophy for Best Boutique Oil of Show: Wren Retreat - Kalamata/Koroneiki Best Commercial Volume, Single Grove <5000L: New Norcia Olive Oil - Mission Best Commercial Volume, Single Grove >5000L: Talbot Estate - Nevadillo Best Commercial Volume, Multi-Grove: Cobram Estate Robust – Coratina/Koroneiki Olio Bello Trophy for Best Flavoured Oil: Sathya Olive Company, Nuja’s Infusion – Basil

The 3000 trees were planted in 1846 by Dom Rosendo Salvado and by the early 1900s olive production was an important part of the Benedictine community’s self sufficiency. Since the turn of this century a group of former students, the ‘St Ildephonsus College Old Boys’ have been assisting with management of the New Norcia grove, including the annual pruning. The fruit is hand-picked and sorted by the ‘Old Boys’, monks, staff and volunteers, and is now processed for oil off-site then returned to be sold in the monastery’s gift shop. Also well worth a mention was Harvest 6006, which won Silver and 2nd in the Commercial Volume, more than one grove >200 class. Produced by the North Perth Primary School P & C Association, the oil is a credit to this motivated group which has been raising funds for their school since 2013 via urban harvesting of community trees with community labour. A great reflection of the diversity – and collective dedication to quality – of our industry! Download the 2018 Perth Royal Olive Awards Results Booklet at www. Images courtesy of Performance Photography. Prints are available for purchase at

Just another reason to love Friday ... To subscribe and for more information visit: 20 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018 • Issue 110


Victorian producers shine at 2018 Sydney Fine Food The accolades at this year’s Sydney Royal Fine Food Show Olive Oil Awards were shared among some of the country’s largest and smallest producers, once again providing that size doesn’t matter when it comes to the quality of Australian olive products. Victorian producers took the lion’s share of the major awards, taking home four of the five Champion trophies and all for the olive oil categories – including two to Boundary Bend for the Cobram Estate Ultra Premium Picual, which took both the Champion EVOO and Champion Varietal EVOO awards. Fellow Victorians Gooramadda Olives and Kyneton Olive Oil received the Champion Boutique EVOO and Champion Flavoured Olive Oil awards respectively, while NSW producer Alto Olives took home the fifth major award for Champion Olives.

awarded. Eight entries received no medal. In the table olive classes 12 Gold, 14 Silver and 12 Bronze were awarded, with five entries receiving no medal. Full results are available on the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales website:

Alto Olives’ Westerly Isbaih received the Champion Olives award from RAS President Robert Ryan.

The statistics

A total of 160 entries were received for the 2018 competition, 117 in olive oil classes and 43 in table olive classes, with 26 Gold, 78 Silver and 43 Bronze medals awarded. The EVOO and flavoured oil classes saw 14 Gold, 64 Silver and 31 Bronze Medals

Kyneton Olive Oil’s Mick Labbozzetta with RAS President Robert Ryan and the Champion Flavoured Oil Award.

2018 Sydney Royal Fine Food Show Olive Oil Champions: Champion Boutique EVOO - Gooramadda Olives, Hardy’s Mammoth EVOO Champion EVOO - Boundary Bend Olives, Cobram Estate Ultra Premium Picual Champion Varietal EVOO- Boundary Bend Olives, Cobram Estate Ultra Premium Picual Champion Olives - Alto Olives, Alto Wild Champion Flavoured Olive Oil - Kyneton Olive Oil, Basil Oil

 

 

Goormadda Olives’ Rob Whyte took home the Champion Boutique EVOO award, presented by RAS President Robert Ryan.

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Issue 110 • December 2018 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • 21


Taralinga takes Best at 2018 Australian Golden Olive Awards It was a tight race for the top at this year’s Australian Golden Olive Awards (AGOA), with Taralinga Olives taking the Best Oil in Show award from a field of 15 Gold medal winning oils. The winners were announced at a presentation dinner in Wangaratta in late August where – in true AGOA tradition – pomp and ceremony were replaced by celebrations and networking. Despite a disappointing yield due to drought across much of eastern Australia, the 2018 competition received 78 EVOO entries – up more than 10% from last year - with 70 awarded medals: 15 Gold, 38 Silver and 17 Bronze. The cache of Gold medals was also an increase on last year’s tally of 15, reflecting the ongoing industry commitment to increased quality, and included eight EVOO blends. The other major awards went to the Grampians Olive Company - Best Oil from Heritage Trees, and Barfield Olives - People’s Choice Award. Moreinformation:www.australianoliveawards. About AGOA Celebrating its 20th year, the Australian Golden Olive Awards is a national competition run by the regional association Olive Producers North East Victoria (OPNEV).

Winners of the 2018 People’s Choice award were Pam & Jason Brajevic of Barfold Olives.

2018 AGOA winners Best Oil in Show – Taralinga Olives Best Oil from Heritage Trees – Grampians Olive Co People’s Choice – Barfold Olives

Among this year’s AGOA Gold medal winners was Paul Allen of San Isidore.

Gold medals Barfold Olives Cobram Estate Darnum Park Estate EV Olives Grampians Olive Co (x2) Homestead Estate Marraweeny Olives

Mt Buffalo Olives Otway Olives Ponderosa Grove Taralinga Olives (x2) The Village Olive Grove San Isidore

The Board and Staff of the AUSTRALIAN OLIVE ASSOCIATION would like to thank all our members for their ongoing support. We wish you all a SAFE & MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR

Please note the AOA office will be closed from Monday, 17 December 2018 through to Thursday, 31 January 2019. Emails will be checked periodically throughout this time.

22 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018 • Issue 110


R&D Insights contains the latest levy-funded R&D project updates, research findings and related industry resources, which all happen under the Hort Innovation Olive Fund. Hort Innovation partners with leading service providers to complete a range of R&D projects to ensure the long-term sustainability and profitability of the olive industry.

2018 National Industry Conference delivers interactive learning Collective learning was the focus of this year’s AOA National Olive Industry Conference & Exhibition, held in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales in October, and it certainly met its aim. A strong turn-out of delegates attended one of the most interactive industry gatherings in recent years, with discussion an integral part of the information sharing which occurred. The packed program of plenary and field sessions covered a broad range of topics, with delegates praising both the content and delivery. The promised “practical take-homes for all participants” were undoubtedly delivered, with overall feedback rating the event “an excellent conference”.

The grove sessions were a popular element, providing many of those practical take-homes. The opportunity to hear from and speak with industry experts while viewing issues in the grove was appreciated and embraced by the delegates, with many gaining insight and solutions to their own grove management problems.

Surge in interest in table olive production One of the trends emanating from the Conference was an increasing interest in table olive production. “There was a massive groundswell of interest in table olives obvious during the event,” AOA CEO Greg Seymour said.

“We’d seen it happening in recent years and planned this year’s program to include a far greater number of table olive related sessions, but we were still surprised with how enthusiastically they were embraced. “There were huge numbers to the concurrent table olive sessions, and the Saturday table olive workshop with Linda Costa was standing room only with well over 50 participants. “It’s certainly a message the AOA has taken on board now and we’ll be providing further opportunities for information and quality training around table olive production into the future.” Continued on page 2 >>


Media coverage generates national promotion While the Conference took the industry to Wagga Wagga, it also took it much further afield via extensive media coverage of the event. News reports and interviews with key presenters and industry figures were streamed to screens and across airwaves throughout the country, with both print and online articles adding to the mix. AOA CEO Greg Seymour said the media coverage of the event reflected the growing interest in the industry and our high quality Australian products. “NSW DPI did a great job in letting the media know about the Conference and the coverage we received was extensive,” Seymour said.

“There were 42 TV and radio items broadcast within the first week, and the top 10 publications alone provided a total reach of around 40,000. “They were interested in both the event itself and also our industry story, which provided an incredible opportunity for promotion to a huge audience. Several of the TV stories went national, taking the Australian olive industry – and Australian EVOO and table olives – to consumers across all states. “That’s Gold in any marketer’s books.”

2019 National Olive Industry Conference & Trade Exhibition – Save the date Where: Albury, NSW When: 16-19 October 2019 What: Wednesday 16 October – AOA AGM & Delegate cocktail function Thursday 17 & Friday 18 October – Conference program Saturday 19 October – Optional workshop and field visit program Website:


Olive oil in food service project co-ordinator Aranya Changkaoprom presenting one of the videos and factsheets to TAFE students.

TAFE program showcasing AEVOO to Australia’s future chefs TAFE students across New South Wales and Victoria are learning and talking - about Australian extra virgin olive oil, and they’re keen to know more. As part of the Hort Innovation Olive Levy fund R&D project Olive oil in food service program (OL16004), led by Nutrition Australia, specially produced videos have been embedded within the Certificate III in Commercial Cookery courses at selected TAFE colleges and are currently being showcased to classes in NSW and VIC. The videos feature top Australian chefs talking about Australian extra virgin olive oil (AEVOO), how they came to cook with it and how they use it in their restaurants. They also follow the chefs through the stepby-step preparation of some of their favourite AEVOO recipes. Project co-ordinator Aranya Changkaoprom said early

feedback, both anecdotal and from retrospective survey data, has been positive. “One teacher from a Mildura TAFE who showed the videos to a class reported that ‘students found the videos interesting, and they stimulated questions and discussion among the class’,” she said. “The small amount of data that has been collected to date has also shown preliminary positive results in terms of a change in student knowledge about Australian EVOO after watching the videos. “We will continue to collect data on those responses and learning outcomes over the next few months, and that will be included in the final report for Hort Innovation and the industry.” In the meantime, Ms Changkaoprom said, the project team is continuing to engage with new TAFE colleges

to increase the reach of the project, and with existing collaborators to ensure best practice in the program presentation. “Phone interviews are planned with teachers implementing the resources to explore whether the videos are communicating the intended messages in a way that is engaging and relevant to trainee chefs, and to gain feedback on any improvements for the future. “We also want to gain their perceptions of the impacts of increased knowledge on the benefits of AEVOO on practice, and whether the program has supported their teaching of the course generally. “The results from these interviews will be collated and also included in the final report for Hort Innovation and the industry.”


Resources now “live” IN THE KITCHEN Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil is high in good (monounsaturated) fats and antioxidants, and 100% natural, making it a great tasting ingredient that’s also healthy. Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil (AEVOO) is a truly multi-purpose oil in the kitchen. Use it to slosh, bake, fry, slurp and drizzle on any dish.

Cooking with AEVOO Research has shown that Extra Virgin Olive Oil is one of the safest and healthiest oils for any type of cooking because: It is not refined It has healthy, stable fats It is naturally high in antioxidants

Mythbusting Myth: You can’t cook with EVOO EVOO is one of the safest and healthiest oils for cooking at any temperature. Myth: EVOO has no expiry date EVOO is the fresh juice of the olive fruit and does degrade over time, meaning it’s best to use fresh. Look for the harvest date on the bottle and be sure to select and use a AEVOO within 12 months of this date.

The Truth About Smoke Point You may have heard the myth that extra virgin olive oil has a low smoke point and should not be cooked with. Here are some facts about smoke point:


Why is AEVOO great value? The highest highest grade grade and and The healthiest cookingoil. oil.No healthiest cooking No chemicals, chemicals, preservatives or preservatives or blends. blends.

Smoke point is the temperature at which an oil starts to smoke constantly when heated. Quality AEVOO has a high smoke point, well above standard cooking temperatures. 

AEVOO is a premium quality ingredient. To produce high quality food, you need to work with the best.

OLIVE OIL (Also known as Extra Light Olive Oil)

However, smoke point is not a good measure of how stable an oil is to cook with. It’s the balance of healthy fats and natural antioxidants that makes AEVOO very stable and suitable for all cooking methods, including high temperature cooking.

A refined oil that is subject to chemical processing.

REFINED OILS (Many vegetable oils such as sunflower and canola)

Myth: You can’t use EVOO in non-stick pans There is no evidence to support this. The healthy fats in EVOO make it very stable, preventing the oil from breaking down in the pan.

While you may pay slightly more for AEVOO over lower quality oils, you will produce a standard of food you can charge more for.

Consumers are demanding the freshest ingredients and seek to understand the origins of their food. AEVOO is a fresh, quality and locally sourced ingredient.

Oils that are refined using chemical processes.

PROJECT NAME: Olive oil in food service program (OL16004) PROJECT AIM: To increase awareness of Australian extra virgin olive oil among trainee chefs and culinary school students. PROJECT PARTNER: Nutrition Australia, Vic Division



With a lighter taste, mild AEVOO is delicate, subtle and versatile – allowing other flavours to take centre stage. Perfect for uses such as stirfrying, baking and sautéing.

Research Recap


Classic AEVOO is brimming with fresh fruity aromas and pungent flavours, making it a good choice when you want a bit more flavour. Great for uses such as grilling, dressing salads, dipping or roasting vegetables.


For those who relish the delicious full flavour of olive oil, Robust AEVOO is the way to go! Perfect for roast meats and vegetables, or for generously drizzling on salads, and a welcome addition to stews, casseroles and marinades.

The resources created as part of the food service project have now gone live, enabling the information and messages to be accessed at the touch of a keyboard. Launched to the industry at the 2018 National Olive Industry Conference & Trade Exhibition in October, the fact sheets and videos are now available for download on the Australian Extra Virgin Everyday website. Housed on a dedicated Chefs page focusing on hospitality usage, the fact sheets provide factual information about:

ƒ AEVOO’s health benefits, quality, versatility and flavor

ƒ the characteristics of AEVOO

and how to ensure you’re buying EVOO

AEVOO comes in a range of flavour profiles to suit any cuisine or dish. Robust styles are best suited to full-flavour dishes, while milder styles of AEVOO can be used when you are seeking a more subtle flavour.

ƒ cooking with AEVOO, with myth busting facts including the truth about smoke point.

The videos provide an ideal complement to the factual elements, sharing the passion for AEVOO of the feature chefs and showcasing the versatility of AEVOO in the kitchen via the recipes demonstrated. They’re all there for the downloading, providing a great promotional tool for when you’re talking with chefs or food service representatives, and inspiration for anyone wanting to combine health, flavor and versatility in the kitchen. Access them now at

FUNDING: Hort Innovation Olive Fund PROJECT DURATION: Two years, ending May 2019 KEY UPDATE INFORMATION:

ƒ Resources have been embedded within the Certificate III in Commercial Cookery course and are currently being showcased to TAFE classes in NSW and VIC

ƒ Positive preliminary results in terms of a change in student knowledge about Australian EVOO after watching the videos

ƒ Engagement with new TAFE colleges continuing to increase project reach

ƒ Engagement with existing collaborators underway to ensure best practice in the program presentation

ƒ Exploring the impact of increased awareness of the benefits of AEVOO on practice or anticipated practice in the future and any barriers to use of AEVOO.


Benchmarking for improved industry Olive Industry Benchmarking performance


RMCG from economic and financial Rising global trade has increased ƒ are small scale and do not farm surveys. Data collection pressure on olive producers to generate a profit; The Australia Olive Industry is benchmarking performance in 2017! This new project is funde was undertaken based on annual achieve a high-quality product have insufficient income per Hort Innovation olive levy so there is nodata) cost toƒ participants. statements (tax return at a competitive price. This using thefinancial hectare, mainly due to low yield and to physical farm information to had beenWe evidenced with the businesses are seeking register for the benchmarking project. performance; inform performance indicators for the commissioning of the International Places are ƒ are spending no or very little 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years. olive oil production costslimited. study money on water, fertiliser and by the International Olive Council, Benchmarking for the industry is pest and disease control, some of where they sought to understand What is benchmarking? only possible with the support and Why benchmark? these are key constraints to yield; different production systems and involvement of those growers who • Understand how the industry is performing as a w the resulting financial performance Benchmarking is a management to see either howand share ƒ have high operating costs, making aretool willing to participate on a $EUR per kilogram basis, individual businesses or the industry as a The whole is is indebted • Understand it difficult to achieve profit and/ their data. project how your business performance i.e. benchmarking regional performing. The benchmarkingto will examine two years of or adding in lower yield those growers who willingly got compares with risk others performance. scenarios; involved and shared their data. • Understand what the top 20% of Olive Groves do production of olive trees.who participated Those growers Australianbi-annual olive growers have tendencies ƒ have overcapitalised in machinery, achieve their level of performance. in the project will benefit the most responded by identifying the or have too small a scale of This practice benchmarking from the results, as they have need for best in groveprocess includes: • Assistproduction with decision making for the fleet; and future planning f been provided with a (now) personalised management for the industry to to participate your business • Growers to register in the project ƒ have a low or negative return to report to demonstrate how their remain competitive, specifically a • The project create industry wide capital,will making sustainability andbenchmarks • key Provide physical data (yield, water applied, climate) to business compares to the industry focus on the metrics of: you can use to monitor your performance over tim viability difficult; benchmarks, and an analysis on ƒ productivityRMCG recommendations to improve their • Help industry identify priorities for investment ƒ the have a cost of production that is ƒ quality• business profitability and efficiency. that ittoo canhigh. remain competitive internationally RMCG ƒ profitability. All data collected through the Conversely, there are a small number of the benchmarking project • RMCG will analyse the datacourse to create industry of businesses in the industry that Subsequently, both new and is treated in confidence. The performance benchmarks and see how the industry is data have mastered these issues and are experienced grove managers need supplied by participating growers performing as a data whole. achieving a profit with a sustainable access to relevant benchmark contains commercial in confidence and viable outlook. The largeyour business? to provide an ongoing framework for Interested in benchmarking • Reporting the data back toinformation. businessesAs who such, individual spread of production and financial identifying and acting on these key businesses cannot be identified, and To register your interest in benchmarking your busin performance is typical of many drivers. compare to ‘average’ or the ‘top 20%.’ the results can only be reported in pleaseindustries. use the below link. aggregate. Australian• Olive Industrythe aggregate results to industry. This Reporting Profit drivers for olive growers Benchmarkingreport Program will allow future research and expenditure to Results Alternatively, to discuss benchmarking further, pleas Fundamentally, each olive business RM Consulting Group (RMCG), either: Benchmarking for the Australian contact needs to be profitable in order to be a specialist agricultural growers. and olive industry has shown some key sustainable and viable. Short-term environmental consulting group, • Luke Rolley 0407 505 362 insights intowill issues for the Growers who participate in benchmarking be able to industry losses can only be endured for a were engaged through Hort and can provide guidance as to • Clinton 596 easily the strengths and weaknesses of their business, periodMuller of time.0498 The 192 equation which Innovation with see funds from the Olive where future levy funds may be enabling them to make management decisions to optimise represents viability for agriculture Industry research and development spent to assist the industry. and horticulture is represented as: levy (project OL16001) to undertake the benchmarking of the Australian The benchmarking project has Yield x Price – Costs = Profit olive industry. The benchmarking concluded that, of the olive Yield (t/ha) and Price ($/t) are was undertaken using the businesses in the industry that RMCG is an agricultural consultancy group that has undertaken industry benchmarking with a range of horticulture, livestock and cropping powerful as they are multipliers. “BizCheck” method, developed by engaged in this project, many: commodities across Australia.

This project has been funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited

continued on page 6 >>



Recommended Values



> 80 HA

Scale magnifies profits (also losses) but spreads overheads to generate a low cost of production. Smaller scale can achieve profit, however to achieve machinery and labour efficiency approximately > 80ha is required.


> $10,000/ha

Income = yield (t/ha) x price ($/t). There are number of ways to achieve a high income per hectare, either through low yields and very high price such as occurs with value added table olives, or higher yield and a lower price. The top performing businesses are achieving $15,000+ per hectare income.


Water and drainage, fertiliser, pest and disease management. Greater than zero!

The benchmark analysis showed that many groves are not spending money on irrigation, drainage, fertiliser or pest and disease management. If any of these factors are limiting productivity they could have a ten-fold return on investment and easily create profit.


Operating costs (fixed and variable) <50% of income, suggested <$5,000/ha

Modest operating costs provide a lower risk business model and allow profit to be achieved. A good target to aim for is having operating costs (all costs excluding finance and machinery) to be no more than half your expected income. It includes variable and fixed costs but excludes interest, rent and depreciation.


Machinery value / farm income = <1.0

Investment in machinery should be tailored to the long term expected income. Many horticultural businesses over capitalise on machinery and this impacts profit performance. The current value of all machinery should be approximately equal to the expected annual income of the business.


<10% of income and /or debt/income =<1; and/or equity >85% in long term

Interest cost can be used to grow a profitable business, but becomes difficult to service if there is not a high operating surplus. (Income - operating costs)


>7% excluding any capital gain

Usually difficult for businesses just starting. In order for businesses to remain sustainable and maintain inputs, machinery and productivity achieving a positive return is critical. Many businesses in the benchmark project have a negative return to capital.


Total cost of production per hectare (including finance and overheads) needs to be less than $10,000.

The cost of production must be less than the expected income. Costs include operating, interest and depreciation plus ownerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s labour. This is a function of achieving a modest cost per ha. Target values per ha are also provided on the report on a per hectare and per tonnage basis.


Cost of production per tonne <5,000/t (operating<$2,500 + interest & depreciation <$2,000 + owners labour <$500/t)

The cost of production per tonne must be less than the expected price per tonne. This is a function of achieving yield and low cost per ha. Target values per ha are also provided on the report.

1. Some surveyed businesses did not include their fixed operating costs in their total expenditure. For these businesses fixed operating costs were imputed. 2. Including orchard grove depreciation imputed at $800/ha/y. 3. Calculated at $80K per full time equivalent not included in wages operating costs.


Research Recap PROJECT NAME: Australian olive industry benchmarking program (OL16001)

High yield and high price are very effective at creating profit. A midrange yield and mid-range price can create a profitable outcome. If either yield or price is very low, it becomes very difficult to achieve a profit. Costs are subtracted from the multiplied yield and price. A high cost structure means there is less room to move on yield and price, even small impacts to yield (for example a frost event) and price will quickly result in a loss if a high cost structure exists. A low or modest cost structure is important to reduce risk and create ongoing profits. One way to achieve a modest cost structure is through scale of operation. Some costs are critical to driving production and should not be restricted, where those items restrict profitable productivity, such as: fertiliser, irrigation, pest and disease control and pruning. Profit remains after all costs are paid. The adjacent table of key benchmarks or targets for the Olive Industry allows a quick diagnosis

for business performance. A business can achieve profit outside these benchmarks, but it will be more difficult and require more specialisation. The benchmarks are not a ‘recipe’ for business success, rather they are broad indicators that can help individuals and the industry identify areas of strength and weakness. These strengths and weaknesses can then be used to adjust business models and production systems to improve profit and create robust and resilient businesses. This project has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the Olive Industry research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

PROJECT AIM: To ensure Australian olive growers have easy access to clear, relevant industry benchmarking information around productivity, quality and profitability. PROJECT PARTNER: RM Consulting Group (RMCG) FUNDING: Hort Innovation Olive Fund PROJECT TIMEFRAME: Completed. KEY INFORMATION:

ƒ Many business are small and do not generate a profit; a small number are achieving a profit with a sustainable and viable outlook

ƒ Benchmarking can help individuals and the industry identify areas of strength and weakness, which can be used to adjust business models and production systems to improve profit and create robust and resilient businesses

ƒ The project has shown key insights into issues for the industry and can provide guidance as to where future levy funds may be spent to assist the industry.


Co-ordinated defence against Australia's most threatening plant disease The Australian Olive Association has been working with Hort Innovation as part of the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative (PBRI) to safeguard the nation against a devastating bacteria that could cripple the country’s multibillion dollar horticulture sector. Xylella fastidiosa is an exotic bacteria that prevents a plant from feeding by impeding the movement of rising sap. While Australia is currently free from Xylella, it threatens more than 350 commercial, ornamental and native plant species across the country – including olives. The impact of Xylella overseas has been catastrophic, destroying a million olive trees in Italy, infecting more than 200 million citrus trees in Brazil and devastating the Californian grape sector – causing annual losses in excess of US$100 million. Dr Jo Luck, program director at the PBRI, said there is currently no known cure and prevention is the only safeguard against what has been deemed Australia’s most threatening exotic plant disease. “If established, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has estimated the potential cost to Australian horticulture well in excess of $7.9 billion,” she said. “Through the PBRI, we are taking a co-ordinated approach, together with the nation’s seven plantfocused research and development corporations, Plant Health Australia, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, industry, state and federal biosecurity stakeholders, to stamp this threat out before it can take root.”

Dedicated Xylella co-ordinator A Xylella co-ordinator is currently being recruited to develop research and development priorities and projects to help protect Australia’s horticulture sector. David Moore, Hort Innovation General Manager for Research and Development, said the Xylella Coordinator would help to facilitate project management of two further projects currently under evaluation. “The threat that this disease poses across Australia has seen a focus on collaboration across agricultural research and development corporations,” he said. “We are working with a number of stakeholders on projects to investigate strategies for prevention and preparedness, as well as the review and adoption of the world’s best-practice diagnostic methods for the detection and identification of Xylella,” he said.

Olive industry action Australian Olive Association CEO Greg Seymour said the organisation has been pro-actively at work to protect against Xylella since the threat was identified several years ago. “We’ve been at the forefront of action on urging the government and NGOs to ensure there is good coordination and also involvement of industry in all processes,” he said. “We’ve communicated that we need a clear plan, along with delivery of information and services, to prevent Xylella getting here and that we also need to be prepared to respond quickly if it ever does, so that the impact on our industry is minimised.

“Growers can be confident that our industry is being defended. “And emerging out of these current activities, the AOA will be sharing an active awareness and preparedness program for the olive industry in the new year.”

About Xylella fastidiosa *pronounced zy-lel-a (rhymes with umbrella) fast-id-ee-oh-sah. Xylella fastidiosa lives in the water-conducting vessels (the xylem) of plants, and symptoms include leaf scorching, gradual reduction in fruit, stunting of shoots, dieback and eventual plant death. It is mainly spread by sap-sucking insects, or through the movement of infected plants or cuttings. Removal of infected plant material and control of vectors are the only control methods. Xylella fastidiosa is the organism responsible for Pierce’s disease and is an invasive bacterial plant pathogen that leads to the death of grapevines. It has a wide range of hosts and infects a large number of other commercial and ornamental plant species including citrus, olives and lucerne. In late 2015, Australia introduced emergency biosecurity measures to reduce the risk of an incursion. These include offshore testing of nursery stock and plant material coming from regions where Xylella fastidiosa occurs, and certification.

This R&D Insights insert has been funded by Hort Innovation using the olive research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower‑owned, not‑for‑profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

Irrigation & Water Saving

Water content frequency based probe.

Water content soil moisture probes being installed into undisturbed soil in an apple orchard.

Tensiometer in an apple orchard.

Soil moisture monitoring: a selection guide Rohan Prince, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Horticulture

Good irrigation management gives better crops, uses fewer inputs, and increases profitability. Soil moisture sensors aid good irrigation management. They are useful tools to help irrigators to understand what is happening in the root zone of a crop. Here’s a guide to selecting an appropriate soil moisture sensor for your grove. Scheduling irrigation

To be used effectively, soil moisture sensors must be: • used in an irrigation shift that delivers water evenly • installed correctly and placed in an area which is representative of the crop being grown • used in combination with other irrigation management information (soil moisture sensors only measure a tiny area of an irrigation shift): • evaporation-based scheduling

Soil and crop type

• soil moisture monitoring • grower observation.

• Sensor types

There are basically two groups of sensors: • water potential sensors, such as tensiometers and granular matrix sensors • soil moisture sensors that give a percentage or relative content of soil moisture.

Water potential sensors

These sensors measure how hard it is to remove water from the soil, providing the

best indication of available water for plants. Soil type and water content influence the suction pressure required to remove water from the soil, but a monitored sensor, which is recorded and graphed, will show the sharp fall that indicates water has become hard for a plant to access. Considerations for choosing a water potential sensor: • Do they accurately read in the desired range for the crop in which they are used? • Do they react quickly enough to be useful for the crop being monitored?


Granular matrix

Gypsum block

Coarse sand




Sandy loam, loam, loamy clay




Heavy clay




Vegetables and strawberries




Perennial fruit and table grapes








Wine grapes




Maintenance required


Low or none

Low or none

Soil type

Crop type

Table 1: Guide to selecting a water potential sensor according to soil and crop type Issue 110 • December 2018 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • 31

Irrigation & Water Saving

Sensor type

Cost range ($)

Granular matrix


Gypsum block


Manual tensiometers


Logging tensiometers


Auto-refill tensiometers


Approximate cost of water potential sensor types

The two most common types of water potential sensors are tensiometers and granular matrix sensors, such as gypsum block and watermark sensors.

Tensiometer sensors

Tensiometers are the most responsive water potential sensor, and they require the most care and maintenance. There are two types of tensiometer tip: one is used in sands, and the other in clays and loams. Use the appropriate tip to see quick reactions to changes in water status. Tensiometers work by measuring suction pressure at the tensiometer’s porous tip. Water is drawn out of or into the tip, depending on water availability. This creates a suction pressure representing the suction force required for a plant to obtain water from the soil. Measurements can be done by manually reading a vacuum gauge, or automatically, using a logging pressure transducer. To maintain tensiometers, check for bubbles and refill the fluid used to create the vacuum within the tensiometer.

Granular matrix sensors

Granular matrix sensors pass a current across a porous media – usually gypsum – with the electrical resistance changing proportionally to the amount of water drawn in and out of the media. They are generally a low cost, low maintenance sensor. Once installed they often last many years without intervention. The reactivity of granular matrix sensors to changes in water status is the biggest limitation to their use. Accuracy is somewhat poor and can vary greatly – between 10% and 25% of the actual measurement. Most granular matrix sensors have low accuracy at low tension (0–10 kilopascals). This is an issue if the soil type being measured has limited plant available water and the crop is water sensitive, such as vegetables grown on the coarse WA sands and heavier clays.

Tensiometer being used to manage irrigation in an apple orchard.

Depending on the porous material and the construction of the sensor, the water seems to move in and out of these sensors slower than with tensiometers. There tends to be a lag in the sensor wetting and drying in response to the soil. The lag tends to be greater as the soil dries, as opposed to rewetting, and therefore may lead to an underestimation of plant stress on the drying cycle.

Water content sensors

These sensors measure the water content of a soil using the time or frequency of a pulse travelling between or returning to electrodes. The most common types are capacitance and time or frequency domain. Most sensors are accurate within 2–3% of the actual soil moisture.

32 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018 • Issue 110

Capacitance sensors

Capacitance sensors generally measure several depths at intervals of 10 to 20cm, and come in lengths from 40 to 180cm. Multiple depth measurement produces useful information on water movement through the soil profile and relative moisture content of the soil at different depths. The limitation with most capacitance sensors is that they measure only a very small volume of soil outside the access tube or wall of the sensor. Correct installation must maximise soil contact and ensure water is not allowed to move preferentially down the outside of the sensor. If this occurs, the measurements will not reflect the situation in the undisturbed soil away from the sensor. The method of measurement means these

Irrigation & Water Saving

sensors are affected by salts in the soil: salts increase electrical conductivity which means the sensor inaccurately overestimates soil moisture.

Time and frequency domain sensors

True time domain reflectometry (TDR) sensors are very accurate, but require quite complex and expensive measurement equipment. A similar, less expensive alternative are sensors that measure using water content reflectometry (WCR) and time domain transmissometry (TDT). This type of sensor generally consists of two or three metal prongs between 5 and 30cm long that are pushed into the side of a soil pit to measure the undisturbed soil. The measurement extends to about 3 to 6cm around the sensor, giving a larger volume of soil measured (0.3 to 8L). With correct installation into undisturbed soil and the larger volume of soil being measured, data from these sensors will be more representative of the whole area compared to capacitance sensors. They are also less affected by salts in the soil. Accurate estimation of water availability with time or frequency and capacitance sensors will only be achieved by calibration with soil tension measurements. If calibration is not done, estimation of water availability relies on interpretation of the change in curve produced by taking regular measurements and graphing them.

Choosing a sensor for your farm

Choosing a soil moisture monitoring system can be difficult. Systems that deliver data to a website or your local computer are readily available and are a better option than a manually read sensor. The following questions may help assess the suitability of a system for your farm: • Are you more concerned with available water (water potential) or the movement of water in the soil? • Do the sensors react well in the soil type and range of soil water in which the crops are being grown? • Is accuracy important? How sensitive is the crop being monitored? Will a delay in identifying the lower level of soil moisture and stress point result in yield loss? • Are you prepared to maintain sensors (e.g. check for air in tensiometers)? • Are the graphs or values easily understood and is support available to interpret the data from the system? • Is the system adaptable? If you change your mind about the type of sensor you want, will your logger take different probes? • Does the information automatically log to a computer system or does it have to be manually read? • If the system is web based, is the site reliable so you can depend on data being available when needed?


Selecting the correct soil moisture probe will provide useful information for your irrigation management. Crop water sensitivity and soil type should guide your purchase, unless you want a system that measures soil moisture content and plant available water. Remember that soil monitoring is just one tool to assist irrigation scheduling. Other steps to deliver the best irrigation outcome for your crop include using evaporation or evapotranspiration as a reference, knowing your soil type and crop, and using good irrigation design to deliver water evenly. More information

Author: Rohan Prince; +61 (0)8 9368 3210. Issue 110 • December 2018 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • 33

Grove management

The (not so hard) graft Byline: Mike Thomsett, Horticultural Grove Consultant, NSW

Changing tree variety is an increasingly common occurrence in Australian and New Zealand groves, particularly as varietal susceptibility and resistance to pests and diseases is identified. Re-planting is one option but with strong, established rootstock, grafting can be a viable fast-track to renovating your grove. Here’s grove consultant Mike Thomsett’s step-by-step guide to DIY grafting. Why graft?

Note: first of all, let’s establish that in this article grafting refers to top-working established trees: re-working the variety on an established tree, as opposed to grafting in the nursery. There are many reasons why people choose to graft but it’s generally related to changing the tree varieties. They include: • varietals unsuitable to the soil/climate • varietals unsuitable for oil/EVOO production • pest and/or disease issues • introducing a pollinating variety into larger blocks • adding to the mix for a different flavor dimension to your oil. Grafting can also provide renewed vigour to old, under-performing trees. My recommended method is what I call a cleft graft, so a tree would need to be at least four or five years old before this was attempted. The benefit of grafting is utilising the framework and root system of an established tree, as opposed to having to re-establish that from a new planting – and without the challenges of establishing a young tree.

Costs vs benefits

In deciding whether to graft, you need to weigh up the costs and benefits to ensure it’s the right way forward. On a large scale, and depending on the harvesting method, grafting may not make economic sense. There’s the time and labour involved in the grafting process, the crop loss until the grove fruits again, and the inability to machine harvest for a number of years at least. Good advice would in fact be to avoid mechanical harvesting of a grafted tree, as the potential for damage would always exist. So you’ve got to be prepared to hand harvest and if you were to shake you’d probably wait three to five years. On a small scale, however, it can be a big advantage. Specifically for table olive production where the trees are hand harvested anyway, and a small number of trees of another variety can add to diversification.


The real cost of grafting is more in the labour than the materials, and the skills of the practitioner would depend on how fast the process is and how successful the grafts will be. If you do it yourself there’s a very minimal material cost – a matter of cents per graft. The supplies are inexpensive and available and the tools needed are quite cheap as well. You could certainly set yourself up to graft for under $100 plus the plant material – and you may be able to access that from other growers for free.


For successful grafting it’s imperative you do it at the right time of year, when the winter dormancy has broken and the sap flow is moving in the tree. In NSW, where I’m based, that’s around OctoberNovember, the active sap flow time at the beginning of spring which will be maintained for the following period of time. It’s crucial to get that timing right: if you go too early the sap flow is not there and the bark is hard to lift, and if you go too late it’ll be slowing down and the graft is less likely to callous and take.

Horticultural grove consultant Mike Thomsett at work.


The equipment needed for grafting is pretty simple and many growers would have most of it on hand already but, as I said earlier, it’s an inexpensive kit to put together. You need: • chainsaw or handsaw • grafting knife • grafting tape or jute string • grafting wax, bituminous sealer or other acrylic sealers, e.g. wound dressing paint or thick plastic paint suitable for horticulture • sanitiser for cleaning the grafting area and the equipment. I have a bottle of metho in the back of the ute but some people use Dettol or a weak bleach solution. The only other thing you need is your selected scion wood (this is the grafting material).

Tree preparation

Trunkation or skeletonizing: take all the branches off – leaving, if possible, a small nursing branch to ensure the signals for sap flow remain. This will tell the tree that it’s still got to supply sap up the trunk, rather than pushing it out via suckers at the bottom, and is removed after the graft has taken and is growing strongly.

36 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018 • Issue 110

Grove management

Choosing varietals Thomsett said while there’s not a lot of definitive research on the compatability of olive varieties for grafting, there are some simple guidelines for choosing what to graft onto what in your grove: • common rootstocks include Frantoio and wild olive • good rootstock qualities include low vigour and resistance to diseases/pests in your area • when choosing scion varietals, look at suitability of fruit for purpose, disease resistance and growth characteristics • source scion material from accredited nursery stock where possible, otherwise from healthy mother trees. The scion length for grafting is between 75mm-150mm, so you can get a number of scions out of one stick. The number of buds above the graft is the important factor.

The need for speed

A grafting kit is inexpensive, making the material cost of the process just cents per tree.

Tree health: a stressed tree will not graft successfully, so you need to ensure the tree has an adequate water and nutrition status for normal growth. You would therefore avoid grafting trees that were sick, diseased or otherwise stressed. For the same reason, you wouldn’t graft in a drought or a particularly wet year.

Grafting material

The grafting material is simply scion (cutting) wood sourced from other trees of known origin. They need to be healthy trees with no signs of pests or diseases. Suitable wood is straight, pencil thickness and one-year-old, so last season’s growth. Choose wood with longer internode spaces, as tight internode spacing can result in bunchy growth at the graft, and reduce the leaf surface area. This aids in reducing transpiration and premature dessication of the wood.

Ideally, cut the scion wood off the tree and graft immediately as fresh material will have the best chance of successfully taking. You treat them as you would cut flowers: when selecting the material in the field put the longer sticks in a bucket of water, and if transporting them any distance keep them cool – potentially even refrigerated. Ideally, though, cut your sticks and use them straight away, and once they’re cut into scions use them immediately. Cut the stick, open your graft, cut your scion and put it in.

Step-by-step process 1. 2.

have your truncated tree prepared; using a grafting knife, make an incision approx. 40mm deep from the top of the saw cut down the branch; 3. using the back of the grafting knife or a bark lifter, gently lift the bark from the cambium layer, which is the vascular tissue immediately under the bark around the circumference of the limb; 4. prepare the scion (there’s a bit of an art to this!): hold the cutting in your left hand towards the right side of your body and draw your thumb across your body with the knife, parallel with the cutting - keeping your hand parallel to the cutting will aid in achieving a straight cut. You need a straight, very even cut surface at an angle of approx. 15 degrees;


We Make It Easy For You! • Free on site consultations • We’ll help you maximise your yield • Extensive industry knowledge at your disposal

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NATIONAL HARVESTERS Mobile: 0427879125 Email: Issue 110 • December 2018 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • 37

Grove management

When preparing the scion you need a straight, very even, cut surface.

The scion is fitted snugly into the prepared incision then taped or tied and sealed.

5. insert the scion into the prepared incision so it fits snugly. The entire cut surface should be face down against the cambium, with the outside of the scion facing the outside of the tree; 6. while holding firm, wrap tape or jute tightly around the outside of the limb to hold the graft together. This can be done after a number of grafts are applied to each limb. **Note: if possible do two to three grafts per tree, evenly spaced around the circumference. This can provide structure, the opportunity to choose the strongest growth and also allows for failure of one or more grafts, bird damage, etc. 7. Seal the entire site with grafting mastic, paraffin, bituminous sealer or plastic paint.

After care

Most importantly, leave the graft alone. Ensure that it is not disturbed by touching, bumping, people or livestock – if you’ve got sheep grazing in the grove, remove them. And while it’s tempting to go up and give them a wiggle to see how they’re going, don’t touch them until there are signs of strong growth. No special attention is required as they take but you want to ensure the tree has sufficient water and nutrients at this time. Following signs of strong growth, cut the tape or string to ensure the callousing process and healing of the graft is not strangled. In most varieties and conditions you’ll also need to remove significant suckering from the rootstock while the grafts are establishing. This is very important, as you want to direct all the tree’s energy towards the graft. Once the grafts have established, remove the nursing branch and all other shoots of the root stock. Maintain your tree as a new variety from the graft up, pruning as usual but handling a little more gently during the first season at least.

Golden rules for successful grafting

In a nutshell, successful grafting is about speed, cleanliness and precision. Good hygiene, immediacy and straight cuts will help greatly towards successful grafting. Conversely, bad cuts, sealing and hygiene will detrimentally affect the grafting process. And the time taken to achieve that cut-to-cut-surface between the trunk and scion is critical. The cells on the surfaces are dying as they’re exposed to oxygen, so the faster you can do that and seal it up, the more successful you’re going to be. And if you do it well, with attention to detail throughout the process, in my experience you’ll have a very high success rate.

A successful graft, resulting in a healthy, vigorous tree.

For more information contact Mike Thomsett on 0427 373 111, or

38 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018 • Issue 110

New Zealand - Awards

Wairarapa producers featured strongly among the 2018 Best in Class winners.

Wairarapa dominates at 2018 NZ EVOO Awards If you want to make really great New Zealand EVOO, it seems that getting yourself some Wairarapa soil is an ideal way to start. Loopline Olives of Wairarapa took out the two top gongs in this year’s New Zealand EVOO Awards, claiming both 2018 Best in Show for its Loopline Picholine and Reserve Best in Show for its Loopline Picual. Fellow Wairarapa producers Juno Olives also doubled up, taking Best in Boutique for its Juno Olive Oil and Reserve Best in Boutique for its Juno Olive Oil Koroneiki. The Olive Press (yes, from Wairarapa) matched them both, awarded Best Flavoured Oil for its Pressed Gold - Lime Infused and Best Processor, making it a five out of five major awards for Wairarapa producers.

Third time not ‘lucky’

Loopline owners Mark and Kate Bunny are no strangers to success, having also taken Best of Show last year and in 2014. And whatever they do in their 900-tree grove, it’s obviously the right thing, as they have been consistent medal winners in previous years. Their third top national award is seeing them “ride the crest of a wave”, Kate said, and “enjoying the marvellous publicity” generated by the win. Juno Olives and The Olive Press also repeated previous success, having won their respective Best in Boutique and Best Flavoured Oil awards in 2017 as well.

The figures

Medals this year were spread across New Zealand’s growing regions, with 46 going to Wairarapa, 12 to Canterbury, 11 to Kapiti, nine to Auckland, eight to Nelson, six each to Hawke’s Bay and Northland, five to Waiheke

Best in Show winners for the third time, Loopline Olives owners Kate and Mark Bunny were just as thrilled to receive their 2018 award from head judge Esteban Santipolio.

Island, three to Marlborough, two to Central Otago and one to Bay of Plenty. The total of 109 medals included 28 Gold, 77 Silver and four Bronze. The judging panel rated the 2018 entries overall as “excellent”, with Head Judge Esteban Santipolio from Argentina commenting on the quality with a glowing global comparison. “I have been involved in the assessment of olive oils at international competitions this year, including the prestigious New York International,” he said. “The oils entered in the New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards are some of the best extra virgin olive oils I have tasted this season. They have been a delight to judge.”

Jo Leech of Arthur Homes Ltd (centre) presented the Best Commercial Mild Single Varietal award to Andrea Stewart and Ross Vintiner for their Dali Frantoio.

Issue 110 • December 2018 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • 39

New Zealand - Awards

Margaret and Mike Hanson accepted the Best Commercial Medium Blend award for their Blue Earth Classic from Arthur Homes Ltd’s Jo Leech.

ONZ President Craig Leaf-Wright (left) presented the 2018 Pioneer Award to Malcolm and Sally McKenzie in recognition of their contribution to the New Zealand industry.

Special awards

Kiwi Labels’ Kevin Powell presented the Kiwi Labels Trophy for Best Label to Richard Lee for the Olive Black - Chilli Infused.

Major Awards Best in Show 2018: Loopline Olives Picholine - Wairarapa Reserve in Show 2018: Loopline Olives Picual - Wairarapa Best in Boutique 2018: Juno Olive Oil Wairarapa Reserve in Boutique 2018: Juno Olive Oil Koroneiki - Wairarapa Best Flavoured Oil 2018: Pressed Gold Lime Infused - Wairarapa Best in Class Winners Boutique Mild – Blends (joint): McGiven Valley & Ti Point Frantoio/Leccino – both Auckland Boutique Medium – Blends: Woodside Bay Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Waiheke Boutique Mild – Single Varietal: Il Falcone Korako - Wairarapa Boutique Medium – Single Varietal: Olivo Koroneiki - Wairarapa

The annual NZ EVOO Awards also recognise excellence in processing practices and label design – integral elements of successful EVOO production and marketing – and outstanding industry effort, via three special awards. This year judges chose four finalists for the Imerys Talc Trophy for Best Processor: The Olive Mill, The Olive Press, The Village Press and Salumeria Fontana, with The Olive Press taking the accolade for the fifth year running. And it was a five-way competition for the Kiwi Labels Trophy for Best Label, judged each year by one of New Zealand’s top graphic designers. Labels from Duck Creek Road, Olive Black, Pressed Gold, Terra Sancta and Ti Point vied for the honour, with Olive Black - Chilli Infused taking the award.

Boutique Intense – Blends: Left Field Tuscan Blend - Wairarapa Boutique Intense – Single Varietal (joint): Juno Olive Oil Picual & Juno Olive Oil Koroneiki - Wairarapa Commercial Intense – Blends: Dunford Grove No. 2 Blend - Central Otago Commercial Mild – Blends: Kapiti Frantoio/Leccino - Kapiti Commercial Mild – Single Varietal: Dali Frantoio - Wairarapa Commercial Medium – Blends: Blue Earth Classic - Wairarapa Commercial Medium – Single Varietal: Loopline Olives Picholene - Wairarapa Commercial Intense – Single Varietal: Loopline Olives Picual - Wairarapa Flavoured Citrus: Pressed Gold Lime Infused - Wairarapa Flavoured Other: Juno Rosemary Wairarapa

40 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018 • Issue 110

Head judge Esteban Santipolio presented the Imerys Talc Trophy for Best Processor to The Olive Press’ Garry Lingard.

There was no competition, however, for this year’s Pioneer Award, presented to Malcolm and Sally McKenzie in recognition of their significant contribution to Canterbury region and the broader New Zealand industry. “Pioneers” of one of the major groves in Canterbury, the McKenzies facilitated large scale plantings in the Waipara area and introduced mechanical harvesting services. They were key investors in the Waipara Olive Press, providing high quality processing services to growers in the region, and provided hands-on assistance with operations at the Press. Congratulations to all recognised at the 2018 competition with trophies, medals and awards. Full results:

New Zealand - Grove management

Consultant Stuart Tustin showed attendees that complete removal of limbs is necessary to open up the overgrown trees.

ONZ Focus Grove Project – October 2018 update This report outlines the progress made by the Focus Groves to date. It reflects the observations and discussions from the fourth round of Focus Grove Visits and Field Days held in October 2018. Focus Groves status

Note: continuing grove monitoring and advice was provided by project consultants Andrew Taylor and Stuart Tustin, with additional input during this round of visits from NZ EVOO Awards head judge Esteban Santipolio from Argentina and pest and disease identification expert Vera Sergeeva from Sydney.

Kakariki, Nelson

The day started with a visit to Weka Olives, Ngatimoti to look at tree structure and health on a no-spray grove. Grove co-owner Peter Rothenberg outlined the grove history and gave an insight into the management practices employed to date. It was noted that the steepness of much of the grove had been instrumental in determining many of the management practices of the 1500-tree grove. Project consultant Stuart Tustin summarised the tree health and canopy shape as follows: there were no two or three year old leaves, with all leaf present on this season’s fruiting wood; the extension growth for this season was excellent but needed more pruning to allow light and air ingress; the tree size was at a point were restructuring pruning was necessary. He expressed concern that early signs of disease on the new growth would impact on the trees’ ability to support fruit later this season. General comments were that the trees were

in as good a condition as could be expected without a spray programme and that the current fertilizer programme was a factor in this. Encouraging more regenerative growth and allowing more air and light in through pruning should greatly improve tree health in the absence of a spraying programme. At Kakariki Olives the control trees were analysed in depth with emphasis on the improved leaf health and pruning responses. Some time was spent looking at what pruning cuts needed to be made now to maintain crop volumes. The pruning done to the 10m+ trees to date was discussed and met with Andrew and Stewart’s approval. This has allowed considerably more light into what was previously a very shaded part of the grove. It was estimated that to maintain crop volume requirements it would still be three years before the renewal programme was complete. New growth from pruning cuts made at the first Focus Grove field days three years ago was now at a stage on some trees that the final pruning cuts of old wood could be made. It was noted that there were still signs of disease on the trees. This is an ongoing problem in Nelson because of the time it takes to get access to the grove for spraying after harvesting - up to 10 weeks. It was pleasing to note though that there were still plenty of two and three year old leaves.

Bel-Hamed and Terrace Edge, Canterbury

The visit commenced at the grove of Malcolm and Sally McKenzie who, although not a Focus Grove, are pioneers of the industry and have been following the project principles for crop management for the last four years. The trees look extremely healthy with very good four-year leaf growth and biennial bearing had been eliminated. This provided a great example of the benefits of following the Focus Grove programme. The principle visit was then conducted at Terrace Edge, the Canterbury Focus Grove five km away. There had been various impediments to following the Focus Grove management programme and it had been re-instigated only in the last few months. The contrast between the two groves was obvious and salutatory. There was more infection, causing a lack of four-year leaf growth and a consequent poor yield this year. This was the best demonstration of what could happen in a grove if the pruning and spraying regime were not followed. The major cuts from last year showed good regrowth and another two trees were used to demonstrate the pruning that would be beneficial for the following year.

Leafyridge, Wairarapa

Stuart Tustin explained that the focus here was on opening up trees with major cuts, while also keeping trees in production to ensure commercial viability of the grove.

Issue 110 • December 2018 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • 41

New Zealand - Grove management

Hard pruning is an important part of the project’s rejuvenation process, increasing light and air to the canopy and promoting new growth.

Trees that were similarly pruned two years ago are now carrying much heavier crops than previously. Stuart also noted that suppressed branches will sort themselves out once trees are opened up and cuts will encourage vigour in the new growth. In hindsight the pruning should have been more aggressive, with better results as previously evidenced in Hawke’s Bay. As well as major cuts there was also a focus on tidying up poorly productive branches and those where fruit will fall outside the harvest umbrella. Stuart noted the ongoing battle with cercospora was pretty successful because of the ability to maintain the spray program. He pointed out the three year-old leaf and good retention. He said all Focus Groves are operating above where anticipated in relation to the harvest tonnage and overall grove health. There was then a visit to River Grove, who were early adopters of the Focus Grove recommendations. This is an exemplary grove and shows what Leafyridge will look like in a couple of years, with new growth and flowering throughout all trees.

Ngatarawa (Aquiferra), Hawke’s Bay

Stuart noted that this is the exemplary grove in the Focus Grove Project and asked the grove owners to explain their operations. Bob Marshall said that there had been lighter pruning in February and guided by crop load. This had resulted in very good crop. Bob said they had been undertaking a pruning experiment with aggressive pruning two years ago but maintaining three rows,

Pruning carried out during the field days included the removal of pendulant growth.

according to Focus Grove recommendations. The rationale with the heavy prune was to reduce height and to improve harvest ability. There was a need to manage the canopy to stimulate growth. This year the trees had a heavier crop of 2-5kg per tree so the experiment has been successful. The individual fruit were larger and weighed more. Stuart noted that this was recommended to others, as they would only lose one year’s crop at worst and can accelerate the rejuvenation process. He pointed out the good return flower apparent in all trees, also three year-old leaf and good extension growth. Bob noted, however, that some disruption to spray timing has resulted in cercospora being seen again. This was a timely reminder that the spray programme needs to be followed for the full 12 months of the year. The investment is required to get the results and, with 20 sprays at $30 each, was a good investment given the increase in crop. Esteban commented that in Argentina the olive growing is in very dry areas but with irrigation, therefore they don’t have the same issues with disease. However sufficient water during flowering is critical.

Olives on the Hill, Northland

Owner Chris Smith commented that they had their best ever crop this year at 2000kg, previous best being 1200kg. He had only managed three sprays since May harvest and the end of September due Northland’s very wet winter. The Frantoio was harvested on May 7, a little earlier than desirable because

42 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018 • Issue 110

of the evidence of some anthracnose in the trees at the top of the grove. Stuart and Andrew were very impressed with the new growth and overall grove condition. The trees showed four and threeyear leaves, giving the tree a good factory for producing a good crop as well as new growth. Stuart said that the aim for the trees is a “tall upright vase” and that the grove is still a couple of years away from purely maintenance and on-going regenerative pruning. It is still in “fixing” mode, bringing the trees down to a desirable height, to allow spray to reach all foliage and access to all fruit. A large cut was made, allowing more light for regrowth but still leaving one large branch for a 2019 crop. Next year this branch will be removed. Next season some of the new regrowth will start producing fruit. The incidence of anthracnose was less apparent progressing down the hill. There was some speculation that the anthracnose spores are being wind-borne from the neglected grove across the road. Stuart suggested the possibility of an alternative spray to use at flowering time. He said that the cercospora and peacock spot were well under control now, although anthracnose was still evident at harvest, however not as widespread. Esteban said that there should be a 10-year ongoing plan of renewal. Every year at pruning time decisions are made with “divide by 10” in mind. Each year’s pruning is an integral part of the 10-year renewal plan, preferably to have

New Zealand - Grove management

Abundant new growth is evidence of the increased tree health seen across the Focus Groves.

five limbs, and every other year one large limb gets cut. He suggested the Leccino trees that had been coppiced three years earlier should have been pruned more severely last year. The idea is to have an “old young tree” - old root stock and main trunk, but with young branches and foliage for the fruit. The Leccino was harvested on April 9, probably too early, and there was a very low yield of only 4% due to lots of water in the fruit. It was noted that the Leccino that had been coppiced three years ago now have strong new growth.


All of the Focus Groves, and others visited as part of the field days, that have been following the recommended programme for proactive disease management and canopy management are showing dramatic improvements. At least two of the Focus Groves have reached an exemplary stage for the wider olive growing industry in New Zealand and the other groves are well on their way. One key issue was apparent, however. At earlier field days all Focus Groves showed a loss of flowering due to anthracnose infection, with northern groves reporting a substantial loss of fruit due to this infection.

This is a real threat for all groves and Stuart Tustin (Plant and Food Research) undertook to investigate and make appropriate recommendations. This has resulted in the release of an Anthracnose Bulletin with appropriate spraying regime recommendations. This is an edited version of the fifth milestone report of the Sustainable Farming Fund Project 404831: Increasing the Market Share for New Zealand Olive Oil. All reports and full details of the project can be found on the Olives New Zealand website:

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Issue 110 • December 2018 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • 43

Olivegrower profile

Michael Coates and Anne Mutimer, Maluka Estate OG&P: How long have you been involved in the olive industry and what is your involvement? MC: Anne and I purchased our olive grove in 2013. We run the property with volunteer labour from our marvelous friends and families, as there isn’t enough income to support paid labour! Our first harvest produced 250L of oil. We almost used more diesel to make the oil than we produced. Last year we produced 1,500L, but after weeks of hand harvesting we generally run out of energy and don’t harvest all 1100 trees. We have eight varieties: Frantoio, Leccino, Picual, Barnea, Manzanillo, Kalamata, Volos and a few Sevillano for good measure. We would prefer to have fewer varieties but they were here when we bought the property. At least it means we have variety. We originally had 1300 trees, of which over 200 “failed to thrive” due to wet feet. We pulled these out and in 2015 replaced them with 1000 grape vines, which don’t mind wet feet in winter. The vines have thrived, and our first sparkling Pinot Noir/Chardonnay is already in the bottle. We have been very pleased to find how much easier grape vines are to manage than olive trees!

OG&P: What are your major markets and why? MC: We have endeavored to make Otway Olives a premium brand and we have developed a very loyal customer base. Apart from direct sales, our major markets are in the local area through general stores and wineries, as well as food outlets such as greengrocers. Our local customers appreciate that our product is

100% locally grown, pressed and bottled. We are also trying to increase internet sales through our website, and we have just setup on FarmHouse Direct, and Olive Oils of Provenance.

The challenge for all small producers is to find the niche that turns small volumes into a fair return on investment. OG&P: How did you become involved in the olive industry? MC: We sold our sound insulation technology and manufacturing business to a US company in 2012. We have owned property in the Otway region for many years but we always wanted a better view, so five years ago we bought a view that came with an olive grove. We only really looked at the olive trees after we had settled the purchase, to realise that the trees were full of scale and sooty mould. They probably hadn’t been pruned for about 10 years. It was a steep learning curve.

OG&P: How do you see the local industry positioned in the current global market, both in terms of its importance and comparative policies/standards? MC: We feel that a boutique olive grove has to be part of the local community, and ultimately it needs to be integrated into

44 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018 • Issue 110

regional tourism. Global markets are for the big players, so we are not well positioned to comment on global issues. On the other hand, Boundary Bend has demonstrated that Australians can compete internationally, with a clear focus on quality and freshness. We really admire their business strategy. They make an excellent role model for the industry.

OG&P: What do you see as the most significant issues facing the Australian and/ or New Zealand olive industries at present? MC: The main issue facing growers of all sizes is achieving an adequate return. Most small olive groves survive on the enthusiasm of their owners. If you are a large olive grove, volume might ensure a fair return as long as selling prices are high enough. Cheap, dumped or doped, imported oil doesn’t help anyone. It seems that the majority of AOA members are in the small producer (artisan) category, so we share the same problems as many of our colleagues in the industry. Olive oil alone cannot cover the cost of production for a small olive grove. Table olives provide additional revenue and at least with table olives you sell every olive, rather than 1 in 6 or so for oil! It costs a lot more to make olive oil than it does to make wine, yet olive oil sells for very much less. While consumers will happily quaff a few (say) $50 bottles of wine in a sitting, they ration their premium EVOO. It’s crazy. The industry needs to convince consumers to appreciate the amazing value that premium quality Australian EVOO represents.

Olivegrower profile

OG&P: What are the best ways to tackle those issues? MC: We had a really interesting discussion at the recent IPDM field day at Red Rock Olives in the Grampians. Red Rock is a good example of a small producer that makes their olive business viable through a substantial array of value-added products that are sold through their café and retail outlet. Being part of the local tourist industry is an important part of that. This strategy is common to both small and large producers, but this business model doesn’t suit everyone. A lot of work has been done to raise awareness of the freshness and quality of Australian EVOO, and to promote EVOO as the Everyday oil. This is an appropriate industry strategy, however it is less relevant to the artisan producer - although admittedly producers of every size and type benefit from the awareness the strategy has created. Peter McFarlane recently proposed that any gold medal oil can be labelled as “ultra-

… any gold medal oil should be able to sell at an equivalent price to any premium wine. premium”, while any silver medal oil can be labelled as “premium”. We feel there is a further challenge for the industry to raise market awareness of quality beyond the EVOO standard. Using tags such as ultrapremium and premium is a good start. We believe that the next step is to create a top-end market for ultra-premium and premium EVOO, in the same way as premium wine or any other premium food or drink. Consumers may not use it “everyday”, but any gold medal oil should be able to sell at a substantial price premium. While it is difficult to create a premium brand as a small producer, it would be much easier to create demand for a premium product as an industry. Although our position was controversial to some at the field day, we believe that the industry needs to educate the market that you get what you pay for. The various olive competitions play an important role in this. In any event, each business needs to adopt a strategy that suits their situation. To bring this back to our little olive business, although we have a café building, we don’t want to be in the hospitality business. On the other hand, we are located in a major tourist region. To take advantage of that, we

The industry needs to work on getting consumers to appreciate the amazing value that Australian EVOO represents. hope that we will ultimately find someone with whom we feel comfortable enough to share our property, and who will re-open the café so that it can act as a retail outlet for our olive products and wines, and for some of other amazing local produce from the Otway Ranges. But we don’t want to do it ourselves. Our own preference is to remain an artisan producer of just the best EVOO possible. Our challenge, therefore, is to keep lifting the quality and to be able to command premium prices for ultra-premium and premium EVOO.

OG&P: Are there any things you think we’re doing particularly well or badly? MC: From a standing start, over five years we have won five trophies and lots of gold medals, so we are doing something right, even though we regard ourselves as novices. We put this down to “terroir”. We are working to build a premium brand, and we want to keep doing the artisan thing - small volumes of ultra-premium single varietal oils, and small volume blends. This strategy has worked so far but it takes a lot of work. Brand building doesn’t happen overnight. We feel that small producers need to be feted in the same way as the craft brewers

Climate change will be a massive challenge, both for irrigated groves, and those like us that rely on natural rainfall. and the boutique gin makers that are popping up everywhere. Many consumers seem quite happy to pay a premium under the right circumstances, and that’s what we want to see. One thing we haven’t done well is to manage the Cercospera, which is a major issue in our cool climate. Armed with some new knowledge from the recent IPDM field day, we should be able to address this pretty quickly.

OG&P: What are your thoughts on the Australian olive oil standard? MC: The Australian olive oil standard exists for good reason, so we don’t have any issue with it. Again, as a producer of artisan EVOO we do wonder whether there might be scope to create an ultra-premium and a premium category, above EVOO, that can command a serious market premium.

OG&P: What are your hopes for the industry into the future? MC: We would like to see a lot more penetration of local EVOO into the domestic market. We can’t see any place for imported oils, and we hope that the market comes to recognize that quality comes at a price. This means maintaining high standards, and effective customer education. Large olive businesses should grow, and prosper, especially now that the Aussie dollar has returned to a more realistic and sustainable level. If it can survive a rate of $1.10 (which killed the car industry), then it should thrive at 72c. On the other hand, small or boutique producers face different challenges.

OG&P: And finally, what do you see as the realistic outcomes for the industry in the near future? MC: There are only two key places in the market. At the top, there is mass production from large scale operations, with significant capital costs. Boundary Bend is the obvious example but there are others, although not at the same scale. Then there are the hundreds of small olive groves that make up the larger number of industry participants. Our observation is that small producers can’t live off sales of olive products. They say that you can make a small fortune by investing a large fortune into a vineyard, but olive groves take that to another level altogether. Small producers need additional income streams, for example from tourism. The challenge for all small producers is to find the niche that turns small volumes into a fair return on investment. Finally, climate change will be a massive challenge, both for irrigated groves and those, like us, that rely on natural rainfall. If we keep getting summers like last year, with only 30mm of rain from December to March, the trees won’t be happy. Fortunately, we have enough water to irrigate our vineyard! More information:

Issue 110 • December 2018 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • 45

Olive R&D

TasteBook™ sensory training:

learning to describe “green” oils and olives and correctly identifying “defects” Dr Soumi Paul Mukhopadhyay


TasteBook™ is a sensory training initiative by the Australian Olive Association (AOA) which continues to share the experience of appreciating, describing and understanding the quality of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and table olives (TO). Round 4 of the program focussed on “green” oils and table olives, especially on definitions of attributes and “defective/faulted” oils/olives - not all samples would have delighted the palate of the participants. It is always important to know how to communicate well the sensory experience, both with consumers and within the olive industry. For this reason, the TasteBook™ program is providing a learning platform to participants across all levels of judging expertise.

To visualise better how each sample was perceived and described by the participants, a “word cloud” was developed to summarise the feedback. To read the word clouds, identify the “size” of the words mentioned inside the cloud: the bigger the descriptor, the more frequently that descriptor was repeated within feedback for that sample. All three attributes of aroma, flavour and mouthfeel for each sample are combined into its word cloud.

Samples and methodology

TasteBook™ round 4 was run between August and October 2018, with five samples sent to participants within Australia and abroad as follows:



Tasting notes

Sample A

Frost defect


Sample B

‘Green’ Boutillon

‘Green’ EVOO

Sample C

Muddy defect


Sample D

Coratina – with oak tannin

‘Green’ olives

Sample E

Sevillanos – frost damaged

‘Green’ olives

Olive oil

Sample A (olive oil with frost defect) - descriptors

Table Olives

Participant experience

A total of 43 participants took part in round 4. Information provided regarding their “judging experience” of EVOO and table olives reflects that a large number are olive oil enthusiasts or producers who would like to understand how to better describe EVOO and TO. EVOO judging experience: enthusiast 44.19%; senior judge 16.28%; level 1 judge 16.28; expert/panel leader 13.95%; associate judge 9.30%. Table olive judging experience: enthusiast 52.5%; associate judge 17.5%; senior judge 10%, expert/panel leader 7.5%; trainee/young judge 7.5%. The level of participation from EVOO judges of different levels is encouraging; more participation is required from table olives judges.

Tasting process

Participants were asked to taste three samples of olive oil and describe aroma, flavour and mouthfeel attributes with a minimum of 3-4 descriptors. There were two “defective” oils, Sample A and Sample C with “frost” and “muddy” defects respectively. One of the learning intentions of this round was to provide a platform for the participants to experience “green” oil and table olives, and also familiarise themselves with different defects in olive oils.

Sample B (green EVOO) - descriptors

Identifying and describing defects

When asked about identifying which olive oil samples were defective, only 44% participants had correctly identified Sample A and C as defective, whereas more than 90% participants have correctly identified Sample B as EVOO. This explains the need to train participants from various levels of prior experience about important defects commonly occurring in olive oils. Participants also had difficulty in naming the defects correctly, as only a few of them had correctly described both sample A and C as frosted and muddy respectively. It is evident from all three word clouds that the participants could perceive the differences in sensory attributes and defects of all three olive oil samples and they could comfortably identify and describe them well. The numbers of descriptors written by the participants

46 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018 • Issue 110

Olive R&D

Sample C (olive oil with muddy defect) - descriptors

Sample D (green table olives) - descriptors Participants’ feedback on olive oil defects.

irrespective of their judging experience showed an agreement among them for an individual oil and this agreement can be considered an accomplishment for this program.

Table olive samples

A similar approach was taken for writing descriptors for the two table olive samples, with word clouds reflecting participants’ perception about the most suitable descriptors for each.

Learning and future recommendations

Round 4 of the TasteBook™ program has received much positive feedback from participants about the learning intention, judging criteria and the training notes provided with the samples. There are several learnings resulting, the most important about understanding and identifying commonly occurring olive oil defects. Many of the participants (almost half) could identify the defective samples as “defective” without correctly identifying the actual defect. Sample A was easily identified as “frosted” by most participants; however they have thought of “rancid” as the other defect instead of “muddy”. It is important to acknowledge that to grow and produce quality Australian olive products, everyone needs to have the fundamental knowledge of differentiating between EVOO and defective/faulted oils. It is highly evident from these results that more training is required to obtain a foundation knowledge level for identifying defects in both olive oils and table olives, and when asked about possible focus areas for future TasteBook™ rounds, the most common answers were “varietals” and “faults/defects”. Future rounds of TasteBook™ should therefore focus on identifying and understanding various defects of olive oils and table olives. An encouraging response was also received to providing learning experiences around flavoured olive oil, both infused and agrumato, in future rounds of TasteBook™ and we will do this in 2019. One of the recommendations from previous rounds was to have a “live workshop or training session”. This request was met at the National Olive Oil Conference in Wagga Wagga in October 2018, where a TasteBook™ Live workshop resulted in approximately 40 participants actively participating in the program.

Sample E (green table olives, frost damaged) - descriptors


The process of writing descriptors is getting easier for many trainees and enthusiasts, who took it up with a positive intention of learning how to do it well. This was evident from the detailed word clouds in this report. The use of the online SurveyMonkey system to capture participants’ feedback gathered positive responses; however some participants still have difficulties in completing the evaluation online in one sitting. Round 4 sample presentation and packaging also received positive feedback. Most participants (92.5%) are willing to take part in the future rounds of the TasteBook™ program and can see clear benefits to them and the Australian olive industry in continuing the program in 2019. For 87.5% of the participants the registration cost is not an issue. The next round of TasteBook™ is scheduled for February 2019. If you’d like to participate, email Soumi Paul Mukhopadhyay at to register. **Due to space limitations, this is an edited version of the TasteBook™ Round 4 report. You can read the full report in the Features section of the Olivebiz website:

Issue 110 • December 2018 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • 47

Health round-up

Health round-up Continuing our regular round-up of the latest relevant health research from around the world, to keep you up to date and in the know…

Mediterranean diet lowers risk of depression A new international study has found that eating a Mediterranean diet, typically rich in olive oil, can dramatically reduce the risk of depression. Researchers from the UK, Australia and Spain explored the link between the risk of depression and following a high-quality diet rich in plant foods, like the Mediterranean diet, and found clear evidence of the positive effect of the diet on mental health. For the study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, researchers reviewed 41 previous studies and aggregated the results. Four studies specifically assessed the association between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and depression, with results showing that people with strong adherence were one-third less likely to develop depression than those with the least adherence. In contrast, those consuming a poor quality diet with large quantities of sugar, processed food and saturated fat were at a higher risk of developing depression.

The anti-inflammatory aspect of the Mediterranean diet is credited for the benefit, with a plant-based eating regime rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, legumes, nuts and fish providing vitamins, minerals, polyphenols and fibre, known to reduce the likelihood of depressive illness. The researchers found that the systemic inflammation caused by a processed high sugar/fat diet directly increases the risk for depression, with evidence increasingly showing that the relationship between the gut and brain plays a key role in mental health. As gastrointestinal bacteria can be modified by our diet, they concluded that modifying risk factors such as diet has value in reducing the risk of depression and improving mental health. Source:

Squalene in EVOO may help wound healing Squalene, a minor compound found in high concentrations in EVOO, may assist with tissue repair and help with the body’s wound healing process. That’s the conclusion of researchers at the University of Jaén, following a study to identify the specific components of olive oil responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties. Their research article “Squalene Stimulates a Key Innate Immune Cell to Foster Wound Healing and Tissue Repair,” was published recently in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Squalene is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and preventive effects against various forms of skin damage. This study explored the role of squalene on the inflammatory responses of macrophages, the main innate cells involved in repairing tissues and bringing inflammation to an end. The interaction of M1 and M2 macrophages takes the healing

process from infection to recovery and the study found that squalene appears to act as a mediator in the tissue remodelling and repair process, promoting a switch from M1 into M2 macrophages which recruits immune cells and produces anti-inflammatory signals. The researchers concluded that without squalene, cicatrization (scar formation at the site of a healing wound) would be deficient, and therefore squalene could be useful at the resolution stage of wound healing. They also found that the concentration of squalene may influence its action during the healing process, with further study on its behaviour at varying concentrations recommended. Source:;

L ong-term consumption of sunflower, fish oils can damage liver - olive oil protects An international study led by the University of Granada has found that long-term consumption of sunflower or fish oils can damage the liver, while virgin olive oil benefits liver health preservation. The research, published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, analysed the effects of long-term consumption of three dietary fats - olive, sunflower and fish oil – on the liver of rats. Included in the analyses was a comprehensive study of the liver genome and its evolution with the consumption of the different oils. The research demonstrated that “fat accumulates in the liver with age, but the most striking finding is that the type of fat accumulated differs depending on the oils consumed” and that “some livers age in a healthier way than others and with a greater or lesser predisposition to certain diseases”. The results found that sunflower oil induced fibrosis, ultrastructural alterations, gene expression blockades and high oxidation, while fish

oil intensified oxidation associated with ageing, lowered mitochondrial electron transport chain activity and altered the relative telomere length. Telomeres are the ends of chromosomes, the shortening of which can cause cell ageing and the lengthening of which can cause cancer. Virgin olive oil was shown to the best of the three for preserving liver health and function. “The alterations caused by the long-term consumption of sunflower and fish oils make the liver susceptible to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, a very serious disease that may act as a catalyst for other liver diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer,” the researchers said. “Virgin olive oil is the healthiest option, which has already been proven in relation to diverse aspects of health.”

48 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018 • Issue 110


Products & services

Make harvesting easy – leave it to the professionals! NATIONAL HARVESTERS

MECHANICAL HARVESTING National Harvesters offer professional, efficient solutions for all your harvesting needs. An experienced, SA based family-owned We Make It Easy For You! Hayley & Ian Mead Australian company, National Harvesters offer their services to • Free on site consultations • Flexibility • We’ll help you maximise your yield • Professional job with modern growers across all states. • Extensive industry knowledge at technology guaranteed Run by father and daughter team Ian and Hayley Mead, their your disposal • We can sell & transport your oil aim is to make harvesting an easy and stress-free process, while also ensuring maximum efficiency and crop yield. “We’ve been in the industry for more than 17 years, both growing and harvesting olives, so growers can rest assure we understand whatWE HARVEST A VARIETY OF ORCHARD CROPS INCLUDING: you want in a harvesting service,” Hayley said. OLIVES • PISTACHIOS BOOK NOW FOR THE UP & COMING SEASON. DON’T MISS OUT, CALL US TODA “And combining that extensive industry knowledge with the latest PRUNES • CAROBS NATIONAL HARVESTERS technology means we can help you maximise your yield.” CITRUS Mobile: 0427879125 Email:

Technology = efficiency

National Harvesters have a range of equipment and harvesting systems designed to suit the varying needs of Australian growers and grove styles. “No one machine or system can provide the best efficiency in every grove, so we tailor our service to each individual client and grove,” Hayley said. “Our OMC shake and catch system can harvest up to 300 trees per hour, with the option of catching in bins or bulk capacity up to 10 tonnes, and is suitable for use on established trees of six years and older. “Our Gregoire G133v straddle system is the perfect harvester for young trees, and also for super high density groves with varieties such as Arbequina, Arbosana, Koroneiki and FS17.”

Harvesting … and much more

National Harvesters’ services don’t just stop when the fruit is off the trees, Hayley said. “We understand that olive growers differ in terms of how hands-on they are in their groves. While many are full-time and can deal with the harvested fruit themselves, others are looking for a wider range of assistance in handling the harvesting and processing of their fruit. “So we offer growers a complete “harvest time” service, including: • olive harvesting • transporting harvested olives to the processor • assistance in arranging processing • oil sales, for those without the time or inclination to market their oil themselves. “The service is flexible to meet each grower’s needs, and our

Experienced  Professional  Efficient Modern technology extensive industry knowledge means we can advise on the most practical and efficient solutions based on those needs and the physical attributes of the trees and grove. “We also have a great team of friendly energetic employees and are flexible with working hours to ensure we get the job done at the optimal time. “We’re here to make it easy for you, so call us to organise a free onsite consultation, pre-harvest check and a friendly chat about the season and your growing techniques.” The time to plan for the 2019 harvest season is now: call Ian 0427879125 or Hayley - 0428891581 today and let National Harvesters make your harvesting easy.

Issue 110 • December 2018 • Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • 49

your calendar of olive events

2018 Dec

February 17-21 FIAL at Gulfood - Dubai, UAE

December 14 AOA office Christmas closure. Re-opening January 31, 2019


2019 Jan

February 1 AOA Integrated Pest & Disease Management Field Day – Wangaratta region, Vic

March 23 Olives New Zealand 2019 Annual General Meeting – Carterton, NZ March - dates TBC Olives New Zealand Focus Grove Project Field Days – various regions, NZ

January 11 Entries close, Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition – Los Angeles, USA January 20-25 Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Course – London, UK


What’s on

March 25 Closing date for entries, 2019 Olive Japan International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition – Tokyo, Japan

Apr May

February 3 AOA Integrated Pest & Disease Management Field Day – Mornington Peninsula, Vic

April 1 Closing date for entries, Oil China Competition 2019 - Beijing China May 5-10 New York International Olive Oil Competition – New York, USA May 14-16 Oil China Expo 2019 + Summit Forum - Shanghai China

February 12 Table Olive Processing for Quality & Taste Course – Barossa Valley, SA


February 15 AOA Integrated Pest & Disease Management Field Day – New Norcia, WA


July dates TBC 2019 Olive Japan Show – Tokyo, Japan


October 16-19 2019 National Olive Industry Conference & Trade Exhibition – Albury, NSW

February 17 AOA Integrated Pest & Disease Management Field Day – Margaret River, WA

June 24-26 Hort Connections 2019 – Melbourne, Vic

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Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor • December 2018• Issue 110


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Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor - December 2018  
Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor - December 2018