`New Olive Variety Will 'Revolutionize' High-Density Plantations, Company Claims - Olive Oil Times
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Olive Varieties

New Olive Variety Will 'Revolutionize' High-Density Plantations, Company Claims

By Daniel Dawson
Feb. 20, 2023 18:16 UTC

An agri­cul­ture com­pany and the University of Córdoba believe they have bred a new olive vari­ety that will rev­o­lu­tion­ize” high-den­sity plan­ta­tions. However, they are not ready to give out all the details yet.

We will be releas­ing infor­ma­tion about Sultana in a stag­gered man­ner, giv­ing more details through­out the year,” Juan Jiménez, a spokesman for Balam Agriculture, told Olive Oil Times.

We are con­vinced that Sultana will reign in high-den­sity olive groves; who­ever bets on this vari­ety today will have a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage tomor­row- Pedro Galvéz, part­ner, BALAM Agriculture

A blog post on the com­pa­ny’s web­site shared what is pub­licly known about the new Sultana vari­ety.

Sultana was one of 1,400 olive geno­types with which the com­pany exper­i­mented in part­ner­ship with the University of Córdoba. The new vari­ety is a cross of female Arbosana trees with male Sikitita trees. Sikitia is a cross between Arbequina and Picual trees.

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Balam will have exclu­sive rights to pro­duce and sell Sultana seeds in Europe for 30 years as part of its agree­ment.

Pedro Valverde, a researcher from the University of Córdoba, said Sultana has the best attrib­utes of the Arbosana, Picual and Arbequina olives.

Sultana is char­ac­ter­ized by its early ripen­ing and early pro­duc­tion; it has a good fat yield,” he said. Due to its size and vigor, it adapts per­fectly to high-den­sity pro­duc­tion, and its fruit is larger com­pared to the rest of the vari­eties for this type of plan­ta­tion. In addi­tion, the oil is of very high qual­ity.”

Pedro Gálvez, a part­ner at Balam Agriculture, added that Sultana olives could be har­vested and trans­formed before other vari­eties, allow­ing bot­tles of Sultana olive oil to be sold before other vari­eties are har­vested and milled.

However, there are still a lot of unknowns sur­round­ing the novel olive vari­ety. Neither party pro­vided much detail about the first com­mer­cial har­vest, sim­ply label­ing it a suc­cess. They also did not say when the wider olive oil world and the gen­eral pub­lic could sam­ple the olive oils for them­selves.

Additionally, they did not men­tion where the new vari­ety would grow best and whether it would be resis­tant to com­mon pests, includ­ing the insects that spread the deadly olive tree pathogen, Xylella fas­tidiosa.

They also did not say whether Sultana is a drought-resis­tant vari­ety at a time when Andalusia and much of the Mediterranean basin are becom­ing hot­ter and drier.

However, Gálvez was bull­ish about the future of the new olive vari­ety at the unveil­ing cer­e­mony held ear­lier this month in Córdoba.

We are con­vinced that Sultana rep­re­sents a before and after in the pro­duc­tion of high-den­sity olive groves,” he said. We are faced with a vari­ety with a prof­itabil­ity well above all those that have been mar­keted to date.”

We are con­vinced that Sultana will reign in high-den­sity olive groves; who­ever bets on this vari­ety today will have a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage tomor­row,” Gálvez con­cluded.


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