The demand for olive products is growing rapidly in many countries with the promotion of Australian producers decided to capitalise on the large gap between domestic supply and demand perceived health benefits and a growing interest in Mediterranean-style cuisine. Only in recent years have for olive products by substantially increasing plantings and production.
The focus of this paper is to outline the key water management issues of an olive farm in Australia. For the Australian farmers to break into the world market and benefit from this recent demand, it is important that they manage their properties in the best way possible. As the olive growing climate in Australia is generally a semi arid environment, this issue of water management is very important, as the irrigation of the olives is seen as a necessity for optimum production. Therefore to sustain this irrigation schedule a sufficient water supply needs to be maintained. Within this paper several different options of water storage are discussed, and their viability assessed. A water balance approach is then taken to examine the different factors of the hydrological cycle and there effect on maintaining this optimal water consumption.
This water management assessment was then applied to the Yallamundi Olive Plantation in Millmerran in South East Queensland. Yallamundi is an interesting property as they exhibit a relatively new technique for fruit tree management. The soil types and low slopes on the Yallamundi property leave it being susceptible to waterlogging of the roots of the trees, and therefore a method of planting the trees on mounds was introduced. This method was used to so that the initial slope for the excess runoff was relatively steep which results in limited infiltration, but also enhanced runoff volumes. Runoff can be seen as the major cause of erosion, so this method of mounding poses a high potential risk of erosion. Several calculations were therefore performed to estimate the downslope velocities in the mound channels and the waterways. These were then compared to the limiting erosion velocities collected from DNR. It was found that the mound channels were within the range of non-erosive flow, whereas the velocity in the waterways suggested major erosion problems are likely. It was suggested that a more detailed means of calculation should be undertaken, before serious changes were made. Several suggestions have been made in relation to the solution to this problem, which can be seen as relatively minimal on site as excess runoff has been minimal and not frequent in the last couple of years.