21 May

Shaking up the olive harvest

For thousands of years, olives have proved a difficult and labour-intensive crop to harvest, but a Moutere grower thought there has to be a better way. Anne Hardie visits a grower who has a knack for inventions.

Harvesting olives can be a labour-intensive process that has been just about begging for a bit of Kiwi ingenuity. Fortunately, Roger Armstrong likes to tinker with machinery and has used that legendary ingenuity to invent a contraption to simplify the job.

His invention, the “Smart” olive catcher, has halved the number of seasonal workers he employs each year and should also improve the quality of the fruit from which oil is extracted.

Traditionally, olives around the world are collected into mats or fine nets, either by shaking them from the tree or waiting for them to fall. In Armstrong’s operation, a “pneumatic clapper” was used to get the olives off the trees.

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