Yield Uncertain, Quality Looks Good in Spain

Spain's production levels seemed promising until nature threw a few curve balls.

Hannah Howard for Olive Oil Times
Dec. 18, 2018
By Alexis Kerner
Hannah Howard for Olive Oil Times

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This year Spain´s pro­duc­tion lev­els have seemed very promis­ing and even though the Young Farmers Association of Jaén (ASAJA-Jaén) set their pro­duc­tion esti­mates to be one of the best first har­vest months in six years, nature has thrown a few curve balls. 

Many Spanish pro­duc­ers have been con­fronted with both a delayed har­vest, per­haps due to cli­mate change, and long-last­ing rains that have impeded harvesting. 

Lola Sagra, from Nobleza del Sur, reported that she was not will­ing to take a risk in reduc­ing her qual­ity due to some rain. This NYIOOC award-win­ning pro­ducer opted to hire more than her usual work­ers to come in and har­vest quickly between rain clouds. This increased her pro­duc­tion costs but she is delighted with her outcome. 

Andalusian pro­duc­ers seem to agree there has been a lower over­all oil yield from all olive vari­eties and the rain has made har­vest­ing as well as pro­duc­tion difficult. 

Smaller num­bers of farm­ers have had some minor set­backs with iso­lated hail storms and the olive fly. However, at this point, one hears mostly pride in the qual­ity that millers have man­aged to achieve. 

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No doubt Spanish pro­duc­ers will pull through and offer another good pro­duc­tion year, although esti­mates are still dif­fi­cult to deter­mine even at this point in the har­vest sea­son due to the late start out of the gate. 

In their September report, The Ministry for Agriculture, Fishing and Alimentation (MAPA) of Spain esti­mated pro­duc­tion of 1,598,951 tons, up from last year´s pro­duc­tion by 30.7%percent.

According to the Councilor of the MAPA, Andalusia is pre­dicted to pro­duce 1,339,712 tons of olive oil, from 6,443,315 tons of olives. This is a 39.9 per­cent increase from last year’s harvest.

Jaén, the Andalusian pow­er­house, has an oil fore­cast of 685,000 tons, an increase of 74.9 percent. 

Córdoba, Seville and Granada are also major play­ers pro­duc­ing 280,000, 114,198 and 142,712 tons of olive oil respectively. 

The over­all expected increase of olive oil is due to favor­able con­di­tions prior to har­vest time and the plant­ing of new olive trees. This year Spain had a very mild sum­mer, allow­ing many olive trees to recover from pre­vi­ous years of severe heat.

Although most provinces report an expected increase some regions may see decreases in pro­duc­tion, espe­cially in the areas of Castilla y León (-46.4 per­cent) and Valencia (-39.3 percent).





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