Innovative agronomic practices enhance olive yield and oil quality in integrated pest management

The EU-funded NOVATERRA project aims to enhance olive farming sustainability by reducing reliance on chemical pesticides through innovative pest management strategies. Within Work Package 5 “Validation and impact evaluation of integrated global solutions for an effective and adapted IPM strategy”, a field trial was conducted comparing two olive groves with different approaches to managing olive fruit fly: one using conventional pesticide treatments (spinosad) and another employing ecological practices such as perennial floral margins, parasitoid-friendly cover crops, mass trapping techniques, and organic biocontrol agents like *Beauveria bassiana* and kaolin.


The innovative plot outperformed the conventional one, yielding 1,230 kg of olives compared to 1,155 kg. Oil from the innovative plot was of higher quality, with lower acidity (0.88% vs. 1.43%) and peroxide values (3.74 meq O2/kg vs. 4.74 meq O2/kg), indicating better freshness, stability, and nutritional value. These outcomes suggest that integrated pest management (IPM) strategies not only control pests effectively but also contribute to healthier, more productive olive groves.

Practical Implications

The trial underscores the effectiveness of environmentally friendly pest management in improving yield and oil quality while enhancing biodiversity. The success of these practices supports their wider adoption in agriculture, aligning with global sustainability goals and the demand for environmentally responsible products.

Integrated pest management strategies, as demonstrated in the NOVATERRA project, significantly improve both yield and oil quality in olive farming. These innovative practices provide a viable, sustainable alternative to conventional methods, promoting healthier crops and contributing to ecological balance. The trial highlights the potential benefits of adopting IPM for olive growers aiming to meet sustainability targets and consumer demand for high-quality, environmentally friendly products.