For more than 12 years, we have collaborated with the Polytechnic University of Madrid in agronomic trials in our olive groves, studying various aspects of crop management. During this time, many students and researchers from various backgrounds have passed through our farm, and have carried out end-of-career projects, master’s degree work and even doctoral theses. The latest one has been Antonio Hueso’s Doctoral Thesis, which has focused on irrigation management in hedgerow olive grove seeking the optimization of this fundamental resource.
The study covers five complete campaigns, in which they have established a method to know about the hydration status of olive trees according to different irrigation water inputs. To do this, they have worked with the measurement of the stem water potential, measuring it with a pressure chamber.
The thesis approach is very interesting, because the focus is on reducing the amount of water provided to the olive grove, avoiding a decrease of the production quantity and quality of the resulting oil. To this end, they have considered the different key moments throughout the olive tree cycle from a physiological point of view, analyzing separately two critical periods: spring (where sprouting, flowering and early stages of olive tree development take place) and autumn (when oil is formed inside the fruit).