May 18 2023


On 16 May in Florence, at the Coldiretti Toscana headquarters was held the Oliviculture 4.0 conference, the final event of the Olimpolli Montagnani Operational Group.

At 09:00 the President of Coldiretti Toscana Fabrizio Filippi opened the meeting, followed by speeches by Federico Montagnani (Tenuta Montagnani), Claudio Cantini (CNR IBE), Stefano Pattaro (Consorzio Agrari d’Italia), Giampaolo Cai and Marco Romi (University of Siena), Gianni Tacconi (BIOTAC), Guido Sabatinelli (GUISA Biotechnology Devices), Paolo Marras (Aermatica3D) and Lorenzo Marcolini (Impresa Verde Grosseto, AGER).

The Olimpolli Montagnani Operational Group (financed with measure 16 of the 2014-2020 Rural Development Plan of the Tuscany Region) aims to solve the problem of poor pollination of the olive tree, which affects the overall productivity of the olive groves, verifying from a practical point of view the effect of pollen dispersion on fruit set and profitability per hectare.

The project in brief

The Operational Group, in fact, intends to raise the productivity of the olive groves without any change in the corporate structures simply with the controlled contribution, currently identified as ideal, of the best pollen for the variety of interest.

The technology used in the project

Pollination activities are carried out using machinery never used in olive growing, although existing and used in other areas. Some, for example the Soffi@polline Biotac, have been developed for the pollination of kiwis, others are only being introduced on walnuts and pistachios (drone with pollen distribution kit).

he innovative aspects

The main innovation consists in the distribution of pollen on plants to be carried out by drone at the moment of best receptivity for the stigma. The technique, never applied before on olive trees, takes its cue from some tests carried out on other wood species.
A further innovation consists in verifying the various aspects related to the distribution of pollen in olive growing, which will involve the involvement not only of farms but also of some Italian machinery manufacturers. It is estimated that the repercussions on the primary sector are important because an increase in fruit setting and consequent productivity estimated at around 20-25% is expected.

The replicability

This technique can affect all Tuscan olive groves, even the traditional ones, without any significant change in the farm structure, not requiring onerous interventions for farms. The project therefore intends to put into operation and test, within some model farms, the system for controlling flowering, distributing pollen on the flowers, verifying fruit setting and the trend of summer and harvest production, analyzing the costs / benefits of this practice.

Expected results

a) the implementation of an assisted pollination system that can be technically and economically evaluated;
b) the increase in the productivity of traditional olive groves;
c) the development of an innovation transmission network on a regional scale;
d) the evaluation of the use of drones in olive groves as a tool for pollen dispersion but potentially also for other agronomic purposes related to precision agriculture.

Olimpolli Conference, May 16th, 2023
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