UPDATE: EFFICIENCY was the topic of the day at this week's Australian Olive Association conference.
Australian Olive Association chief executive Lisa Rowntree said the conference went back to basics and dealt with issues surrounding good irrigation and fertilisation of trees.
"Pests and diseases, technology and table olives were also big on the agenda,'' Ms Rowntree said.
Table Olives were a bigger focus with delegates hearing from the country's largest table olive producer, Tree Tops Plantation, NSW, who bought an ex MIS property with a view to ripping the trees out, but then decided to utilise what they had and go into table olive production.
The new owners of Kailis Organic, the second largest grove in Australia, were also present.
The new Australian Table Olive Standard and Table Olive Manual were both launched at the conference.
Mr Rowntree said a workshop on cost benchmarks was one of the highlights.
"A good understanding of our costs is something that the industry has not had a good handle on for a very long time,'' Mr Rowntree said.
"From an industry perspective it was very useful to have so many people willing to take part in a benchmarking program that will inevitably help growers to understand their real cost of production in comparison to others of a similar size.''
But how to extract more oil from fruit and lowering the cost of production were the most important topics.
Current research projects were presented on the effect of storage conditions on EVOO quality and second oil extraction in Australia; which is fast becoming a serious consideration for many large producers.
"We all need to be as efficient in our production as possible during this difficult time in horticulture,'' Mr Rowntree said.
A highlight for tech-savvy delegates was the blogging and tweeting workshop run by Head Judge Dr Richard Gawel.
The AOA bought out Chinese olive expert Robbie Elsom to talk to delegates about how to access this growing market. Mr
Elsom presented important information to delegates and offered solutions to the types of problems they could encounter.
"China remains a growing market for Australian Olive Oil, however there are many pitfalls an unsuspecting grower can fall into if they don't understand what the rules are,'' Ms Rowntree said.
About 150 delegates from Australia and New Zealand attended the conference and then the olive awards dinner last night.
The event was heralded as a turning point for the industry, which along with most other agricultural industries, have been doing it hard over the last few years.
Ms Rowntree said: "Those who can make it through the tough times will be better placed to take advantage of the good times; this conference was about empowering growers to help them make the best decisions for their grove''.