11 Jul

Australia: Hobby olive farms in vogue with record oil production projected in Victoria

By Stephen Taylor,

The good oil on olive growing is that business is booming, with record production tipped for Victoria.

west-australian-olive-groveAnd our Indian summer and long clear sunny days and cool nights leading into winter helped make it happen.

In 2007, production was five million litres of oil, and this year growers will harvest a record 15 million litres – about two and half times more than last year. Ten years ago the figure was less than one million litres.

Fairfax Media reports that exports will account for 40% of production, with local demand set to increase by 60% a year.

The weather gods were especially kind to Boundary Bend Limited – Victoria’s largest producer – after two wet winters, says ABC Online.

The vast olive pressing factory in Northern Victoria has 6100 hectares of mature olive plantations split between Swan Hill on the Murray River and Boort in central Victoria. It harvests more than two million trees.

 

During the pressing season – from March to July – the factory processed a record crop and pressed it into extra virgin olive oil. This year, out of a national forecast of 20 million litres of olive oil, it predicts it will produce about 14 million litres.

Olives thrive in hot, dry conditions like those found in the Middle Eastern, where they originated. So, while the long summer and dry autumn made livestock producers and grain growers anxious, our olive producers were counting their blessings.

The quality of this year’s harvest of olive oil promises to be the best in a decade, a leading producer told The Land.

Across Australia, the crop looks to be up over 80% from 2012 with about 18-20 million litres being produced this year compared with 10.5 million litres last year.

And, based on the results so far from both taste panels and international competitions, the quality of this year’s harvest is also reportedly the best in a decade.

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