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For the past 20 years, Cobram Estate Olives has made sustainability a core component of its farming operations. We acknowledge the challenges that climate change presents but we remain positive about the future.  The olive tree is an ideal sustainable horticultural crop for Australia. It’s drought resistant and a highly efficient user of water.  As an evergreen crop, it maximises carbon sequestration. And as a food, it’s incredibly nutritious. 

From a crop sustainability point of view, olive crops outperform other mainstream edible oil crops.  Olive crops are:

  • The only mainstream edible oil crop which acts as a carbon sink.
  • The most efficient crop in terms of use of water, nitrogen, and phosphorus fertilisers.
  • An evergreen perennial crop, providing a great level of biodiversity and very limited negative impact from land-systems change.

Fruit production and soil preservation can contribute to mitigating the increase of atmospheric CO2 by acting as a carbon sink.  In the case of olives, whilst the ability to fix carbon varies from grove to grove, the International Olive Council estimates that producing one litre of extra virgin olive oil captures an average of 10.65kg of CO2 from the atmosphere, with one hectare of the average olive grove neutralising the carbon footprint of one person.  

Cobram Estate Olives is focused on land management and minimising any biodiversity loss in our sites. Some examples of key actions and practices include:

  • We’ve mapped and fenced over 1,300 hectares of remnant native vegetation within our properties (11% of the total area owned) to protect its biodiversity values.
  • We’ve undertaken detailed flora and fauna surveys of the properties to identify constraints and opportunities for improvement.
  • We’ve established 40-metre buffer zones between the edge of native vegetation and irrigation areas, 25 metres of which has been revegetated though direct seeding of native flora.
  • We’ve worked in partnership with the National Heritage Trust to develop a wetland which not only prevents saline water from re-entering the Murray River, but has created an amazing habitat for wildlife. 
  • Across our properties we carefully transitioned the land from annual cropping to perennial horticulture. We’ve maintained rich sandy soils utilising native grasses between rows and the olive trees assisting in stabilising soils against erosion. 

Our waste zero ambitions form another critical pillar in our sustainability strategy.  Our olive pomace from olive processing is treated on site and can be applied back to our groves as organic fertiliser.  This reduces chemical fertiliser requirements, particularly potassium, and boosts the organic matter content of the soils. Pomace can also be used as animal feed.

Another waste zero innovation is our use of crushed olive pits as fuel to heat our boilers.  This means any hot water required is now produced from a renewable source of energy originating from our own groves and eliminating our need for gas. The abundance of pit we produce, and its excellent burning qualities, also means we can sell it to other businesses for their own biofuel requirements. 

Finally our new Wellgrove health and wellness brand allows us to offer olive leaf extract products with long established health benefits, it’s also another way we’re striving to use every part of our trees. The olive leaves required for the extract products may otherwise have been disposed of through pruning.  Similarly, our Stone & Grove range of olive leaf teas reinforce our waste zero approach.