OLIVES may be delicious, but harvesting them can be an arduous task.
However, that chore has been made easier with the new Verdegiglio hydraulically-driven olive harvester, available through McIntosh & Son in WA.
The unit, connected to the arms of a front-end loader, can take the fruit off about 40-60 plants in an hour.
The Italian-built olive harvester works through a compact and lightweight twin motor head, which clasps around the trunk of the tree and delivers multi-directional high velocity vibrations, which dislodge the olives.
The frequency of the vibrations can be altered for different requirements and olives fall into an attached inverted umbrella, which folds forward around the tree before vibrations are applied.
The umbrella can be emptied without the operator leaving the tractor.
A hydra-motor pack connected to the tractor's power take-off drives the machine.
The state-of-the-art technology encompassed in the olive harvester, introduced into WA by McIntosh and Son late last year, also has applications for harvesting other fruits as well as nut crops.
McIntosh and Son WA branch manager Ian Symington said the company introduced the machine to WA after visiting the traditional olive-growing countries of Spain, Portugal and Italy.
The aim of the visit had been to specifically look at olive harvesting machines to cater for the fast-growing olive industry in WA.
"This was by far the best option bar none we have come across," Mr Symington said.
Olive trees are usually picked by hand in their early stages and Mr Symington said the inverted umbrella vibrator olive harvester could probably be used when trees were 100 millimetres in diameter, depending on grove management and soil type.
He said that while the WA olive industry was a growth area, it was still in its infancy and going through the same learning curve the wine industry experienced 20 years ago.
Mr Symington advised new olive industry entrants to visit the traditional olive-producing countries as a way of learning and avoiding the heartache the wine industry went through.
He said there had been good inquiry for the olive harvester when demonstrated at Mark Edmunds' Gingin property and at the Gingin Expo.
McIntosh & Son is sole Australian distributor for the inverted umbrella vibrator olive harvester as well as state distributor for New Holland construction equipment in backhoes, telehandlers and skid steer loaders.
Mr Symington said the company would establish the vibrating olive harvester in WA before moving to set up a dealer network for the machine across Australia.
pMore information: 94782400.