Technical and economic analysis of alternative pruning systems in high dimensions olive trees in Calabria
Agraria Department, Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, LocalitàFeo de Vito, 89126 Reggio Calabria, Italy;
Oliviculture in Calabria accounts for 30% of the agricultural gross regionalproduction. On the Gioia Tauro plain, located in the province of Reggio Calabria, theoliviculture area is extended over more than 20,000 hectares. The olive trees in this area arecharacterised by a remarkable growth with trees reaching and often exceeding 25 metres inheight. In these extreme conditions all the cultural operations are technically and economicallycomplex. Particularly complex are the pruning operations, normally done with traditionalmethods, which are dangerous for the operators, who have to climb the trees to make the cutswith chain saws. The objective of this study is to encourage the use of mechanical systems,specifically truck-mounted telescopic platforms, to secure operators and lower the pruningcosts. They were therefore analysed two operating systems, the traditional and the mechanical,comparing the working capacity of different yards. The results have been encouraging althoughthe machines utilised can be rationally introduced only on large farms, while the small farmshave to rely on cooperatives of services or on contractors.