plant stress management

Plant Health News

Optimization of olive crop yield by means of CROP-SCAN®

Thursday, 22 May 2014
Field Experience | Olive Tree | Crop-Scan®

The CROP-SCAN® service provides quick, precise data on hydric stress, strength, chlorophyll content and efficiency in photosynthetic activity for all trees in a plot, thus allowing for the early detection of differences in yield that cannot be detected by the naked eye. This allows farmers to implement the necessary measures to optimize the plot’s yield.

The efficacy of CROP-SCAN® as a diagnostic tool has been proved by a number of trial flights over several different crops. These trial flights evidenced that the diagnostics related positively with the current production and quality parameters of the actual crops. As an example, below we can see the results obtained in the diagnostic evaluation of an olive plot in Southern Spain. An important difference in total chlorophyll contents between trees can be seen, depicted by a color code (Figure 1). These same trees where it was observed an appreciable difference in the TCARI/OSAVI Index (Figure 1, in red) show uniform color in their foliar mass. The higher levels of the index indicate lower chlorophyll contents.
Later it was demonstrated that the trees with lower chlorophyll levels presented a smaller amount of olives in trees after the fruit abscission in June. Had the farmers known this parameter, a precise foliar fertilization of the weakest trees would have allowed them to recover, thus improving fruit fattening in the better part of the plot’s trees.

Figure 1. Image of the chlorophyll content (TCARI/OSAVI) of the olive tree plot under analysis.

If we observe the thermal image showing hydric stress, we can see major differences between tree leave temperature (+/- 2.5ºC). If we take into account that differences in the range of 2 or 2.5º C between similar trees can lead to major differences in the caliber/weight per fruit unit, an optimized irrigation at the right moment would had significantly improved the harvest.

Figure 2. Detail of the thermal image of some trees in the olive plot showing significant temperature differences (+/- 2.5ºC).

The CROP-SCAN® system allowed us to scan the entire olive grove in a single scan, without the size limits of other diagnostic systems currently available. Thanks to CROP-SCAN® it was possible to observe major differences in the chlorophyll content and the hydric status of the olive trees. These observations cannot be observed by the naked eye.
However, the measures derived from them can prevent important diminishments in production. After using CROP-SCAN® to examine the plots during the previous year, the agricultural technician in charge decided to carry out a diagnostic of the current crops. This will allow the technician the ability to plan tree irrigation and nutrition supplements as soon as possible, in order to maximize production output.

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