The ‘Olive Growing for Oil’ seminar returns to the University of California, Davis for its sixth edition next month.

The two-day event, which is hosted by the Olive Center, will run from March 15 to 16 and cover a wide variety of pertinent issues for olive cultivation.

The course was well thought-out and timed appropriately to cover lots of material. The instructors were first class and the best in the business.- Mike Anderson, previous attendee and California-based olive farmer

Dan Flynn, the executive director of the Olive Center, told Olive Oil Times that he is expecting a full house.

“Last year we sold out the course at 75 attendees and we expect to have the same number of guests this year,” he said.

Registration is currently open and can be done online at the UC Davis website. The course costs $549 for both days. Registration ends on March 11.

See more: UC Davis Olive Center

Among the topics that will be covered are siting, choosing appropriate olive varieties, planting the trees, olive nutrition, irrigation design, fertilization, pest and disease management, pruning as well as manual and mechanical harvesting methods.

“Our main objective is to help farmers do the right things and prevent mistakes,” Paul Vossen, an instructor on the course and the former University of California farm advisor, told Olive Oil Times.

“There is a lot of information out there from many sources and most of the sources have something to sell,” he added. “I always prided myself in providing unbiased, science-based information.”

Over the course of the two days, Vossen will do just that with his co-presenter, Leandro Ravetti, an agricultural engineer and technical director at Modern Olives.

“Both have deep experience with the science of growing olives efficiently and profitably,” Flynn said. “[And] both have experience in educating a wide range of people, from small, prospective growers with no experience to seasoned large growers with decades of experience.”

Vossen will focus mostly on discussing super-high-density production as well as coping with climate change, while Ravetti will focus mostly on medium-density production.

“Both will address many of the major horticultural issues with olive production, from choosing a site to establishing an orchard to managing the crop,” Flynn added.

Mike Anderson, an olive farmer at Quail Lane Olive Farm in nearby Winters, California, attended the event last year. He praised the course and told Olive Oil Times that he learned a lot about different aspects of olive cultivation as well as picked up some useful business tips.

“The course was well thought-out and timed appropriately to cover lots of material,” he said. “The instructors were first class and the best in the business.”

Anderson is now applying just some of what he learned to his olive groves in an effort to improve his production yields and olive quality.

“Just understanding the three-year cycle in stem growth and fruit development and optimal times to prune was very helpful,” he said. “I am now taking better care of my younger trees too, by weeding near the trunk of the tree, providing more irrigation and limited amounts of fertilizer.”

Flynn said that the Olive Center plans on making this an annual event. It has previously run on five occasions since 2008. He is also looking forward to the enthusiasm that attendees, such as Anderson, bring to the event.

“We get a lot of energy from the attendees,” Flynn said. “They come here to learn but we learn from them too.”

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