What is low yield dryland farming

Our heritage trees are organically and sustainably farmed in the ideal Mediterranean climate of the Northern Grampians. The varieties we grow are not commonly planted these days because they do not give a high yield of oil, however their flavour is exquisite. On average our grove yields about 10 times less per acre than a typical modern Australian grove*.

Our grove is dryland farmed (solely reliant on natural rainfall - no irrigation) so back in the 1940's when our grove was planted, a traditional wide spacing (10x10m) was used so the trees have extra space to spread out their root systems and draw water whilst avoiding competing with each other. The wide spacing also provides breathing space for air circulation which helps prevent fungal diseases; very important for organic production. The sandy soil, underlying mountain bedrock and relatively low rainfall we receive (about 400mm annually) further reduces yield, but also contributes to the beautifully concentrated fruity flavour of our oil - our average yield is 1 litre of organic olive oil from 7 kg of olives, per tree.  We are proud to produce a low yield of higher quality organic olive oil. 

For our 2017 harvest we pressed an average of 9 kg of olives for every 1L - that's a lot of olives going into every bottle!

*A typical modern Australian grove is irrigated, managed non-organically (use of chemical fertilisers, fungicides, pesticides & herbicides) and is planted 250% more intensively (8x5m spacing) with high yielding varieties and averages at least 4 litres of oil per tree.

Photo of our grove in Spring - spot the sheep grazing among the trees and our pomace compost heap in the foreground. Pomace is the stones and skins leftover from our first and only pressing, it is composted then returned to the grove to improve our soil.