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Agricultural Systems
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A comparison of energy use in conventional and organic olive oil production in Spain
Gloria I. Guzmn, Antonio M. Alonso *
Centro de Investigacin y Formacin de Agricultura Ecolgica y Desarrollo Rural (CIFAED), Research and Training Centre for Organic Farming and Rural Development, Camino del Jau s/n, 18320 Santa Fe, Granada, Spain

a r t i c l e

i n f o

a b s t r a c t
The current situation of worldwide concern over the emission of greenhouse gases and its effect on the climate demands an evaluation, from the perspective of energy efciency and more specically of nonrenewable energy sources, of tendencies for change in the management of agricultural systems which have arisen in recent years. This article uses energy balances to evaluate the contribution of organic olive growing to the increase in the energy efciency of Mediterranean agriculture, distinguished according to type of watering regime and intensiveness of cultivation. The results show, on one side, the lower energy efciency of irrigated land as opposed to dryland (i.e. non-irrigated) regardless of their style of management and, on the other, the greater non-renewable energy efciency of organic olive growing in comparison with the conventional production. Nevertheless, organic management could still improve its energy efciency if it further adjusts and internalizes the ows of nutrients needed in order to achieve greater sustainability. 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Article history: Received 31 July 2007 Received in revised form 10 June 2008 Accepted 12 June 2008 Available online xxxx Keywords: Sustainable agriculture Energy efciency Olive Organic farming Agroecology Spain

1. Introduction The olive is a key crop in Mediterranean countries from a social, economic and environmental perspective, as it occupies vast stretches of territory, affects numerous farming families and is a highly important source of employment in the rural landscape. Spains case, and particularly that of Andalusia (its most southern region), is an example of dependence on this crop. According to the International Olive Oil Council there are approximately 10.2 million hectares devoted to growing olives in the world. Spain has 2,456,719 ha, of which 1,487,056 ha are located in Andalusia (MAPA, 2005a). Spains entry into the European Union in 1986 led to a signicant increase in the area devoted to olive groves, driven by subsidies for olive production. The implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) brought about more intensive cultivation, with irrigation (and fertigation) playing a key role, given that an increase in production led in turn to higher nancial compensation. Irrigation also allowed for a more stable rate of production as it mitigated the impact of the regular (and presumably ever more frequent) cycles of drought in the Mediterranean climate. The mature olive grove in Andalusia is classied according to agronomic criteria into eight categories, depending on cultivation regime (dry or irrigated), intensiveness (traditional: > 1 trunk/tree or <140 trees/ha; intensive: 1 trunk/tree and >140 olive trees/ha)

* Corresponding author. Tel.: + 34 958513195; fax: + 34 958513196. E-mail address: alonso@cifaed.es (A.M. Alonso). URL: http://www.cifaed.es (A.M. Alonso). 0308-521X/$ - see front matter 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.agsy.2008.06.004

and slope (steep or moderate). Two of these categories, traditional dryland farming on steep and on moderate slopes, represent 56.4% of olive groves in Andalusia. A third category follows these in order of importance, traditional irrigated farming on moderate slopes, which makes up 11.73% of Andalusian olive groves. Overall, 25% of Andalusian olive groves are farmed on irrigated land (CAP, 2003, p. 84). Moreover, in recent decades concern has grown among researchers and society as a whole over the sustainability of farming. Within the European Union this interest has mainly arisen in relation to its environmental problems and their repercussions on food safety. However, changes related to the CAP (drastic reduction of direct subsidies, environmental restrictions...), mainly coming into effect after 2013, also generate great uncertainty regarding the socioeconomic viability of European farming and its capacity to adapt to this new context. Concerns over the environmental sustainability of olive groves mainly revolve around soil erosion. Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of controlling the problem through the use of temporary plant covers. This practice is being incorporated progressively into management techniques for organic and integrated olive groves. Another show of interest in sustainability is the growth of organic olive growing, which occupied 260,805 ha in the European Union by 2005 (Eurostat, 2007), of which 91,485 ha were in Spain, and 41,516 ha in Andalusia (MAPA, 2006). In Andalusia these olive groves fell mainly into the two abovementioned categories (dryland farming on steep and moderate slopes), due to the ease with which less intensive cultivations can be converted and the relative

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increase in income offered via access to incentives originating from agri-environmental measures and the higher price obtained for the oil (Alonso et al., 2002). On a much smaller scale, there are also some traditional organic groves on irrigated land with moderate slopes. The environmental and socioeconomic benets anticipated from switching to organic management of olive groves are multiple: an increase in biodiversity, a reduction of pesticide residues in the environment, less erosion, an increase in edaphic organic material, higher income for farmers, etc. (Kabourakis, 1996; Alonso et al., 2001; Beaufoy, 2002; Snchez, 2004; Crdenas et al., 2006; Alonso and Guzmn, 2006). With respect to energy, we can expect organic olive production to contribute signicantly to saving non-renewable energy for three reasons. The rst is that organic production tends to use less non-renewable energy per hectare and generally has greater net energy efciency (Berardi, 1978; Pimentel et al., 1983; Dalgaard et al., 2001; Haas et al., 2001; Gndogmus, 2006; Wood et al., 2006; Grnroos et al., 2006; Kaltsas et al., 2007), although this is not always the case (Pimentel et al., 1983; Helander and Delin, 2004). The second is intrinsic to this particular crop, since olives are a rustic crop, i.e. well adapted to arid zones. Historically, dryland in areas with Mediterranean climate have low levels of production due to scarcity of water, and present a low response to intensifying the use of inputs, except when this is accompanied by the installation of irrigation systems (Gonzlez de Molina, 2002; Gonzlez de Molina and Guzmn, 2006). For this reason, a conversion to less intensive management such as organic farming can pave the way for a reduction in the use of inputs without signicant repercussions on the productivity of the land, thereby improving the energy efciency of these systems. Even on irrigated land, the olive groves response to intensication is very limited (CAP, 2003). The third reason is that oil, the olive trees main product, hardly exports any nutrients from the soil, as it is basically made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. This makes it possible to close nutrient cycles in olive groves with their own resources, such as oliveoil mill wastes (alperujo) and pruning cuttings (branches), to a greater degree than with other more extractive crops, such as wheat. The vast surface area occupied by olive groves guarantees that any change in management to save on fossil energy will have a very high potential impact. However, the predominant input substitution model used in the eld of organic production limits this potential, since it does very little to internalize nutrient and energy ows, importing them instead from other ecosystems. This deducts net energy efciency and sustainability from organic production (Langley et al., 1983; Altieri, 1987; Gliessman, 1997) and distances it from the working model of pre-industrial agriculture (Leach, 1976; Pimentel and Pimentel, 1979; Campos and Naredo, 1980; Fischer-Kowalski and Haberl, 1997; Krausmann, 2004; Cuss et al., 2006; Guzmn and Gonzlez de Molina, 2006). Organic olive growing is no exception to this situation, as we shall see below. In general, articles which make energy comparisons between organic and conventional production do not consider the full extent of re-uses (for example plant covers, pruning cuttings and alperujo in this case) employed in the farm. These re-uses are an indicator which allows us to determine the degree of integration of the components of agricultural systems and a factor which has great relevance in terms of their sustainability (Edwards, 1989; Gliessman, 1997; Zoebl, 2002). To rectify this deciency, we have calculated the reuse of biomass and used the relationship between this and the total organic material consumed as an indicator of the level of integration of the agroecosystem.

In this article we aim to evaluate the contribution of organic olive growing to the energy efciency of Mediterranean agriculture and estimate its potential contribution to the reduction of nonrenewable energy consumption. We will also analyze differences between dryland and irrigated land, and discuss some proposals for improving the energy efciency of olive growing in general and of organic olive growing in particular.

2. Materials and methods The selection of areas for study was based on four basic criteria: the areas had to be representative of the aforementioned categories (traditional dryland farming on steep slope, traditional dryland farming on moderate slope and traditional irrigated farming on moderate slope), the farms had to have a history of organic production, the olive varieties had to be destined for oil production and, lastly, the farms had to be located in the proximity of olive-oil mills with an organic production line for the processing of organic olives. Three study areas were selected according to these criteria (Fig. 1): the comarca (local administrative district with common territorial features and agricultural services) of Pedroches, situated in the north of the province of Cordoba, which represents the category of traditional dryland farming on steep slope; the comarca of Sierra Mgina, in the southeast of the province of Jan, whose organic olive groves can be grouped into two categories: traditional dryland farming on moderate to steep slope and traditional irrigated farming on moderate slope; and the province of Granada, whose organic olive groves mainly fall into traditional dryland farming on moderate slope and traditional to intensive irrigated farming on moderate slope. Table 1 shows the general characteristics of the study areas (soil, level of rainfall and climate) and of the olive growing projects within these (rest of characteristics). The management practices of organic and conventional olive growers was obtained via personal interviews conducted within their environment (at home, on the land and/or at the olive-oil mill), in order to obtain detailed information on management techniques, types of machinery and inputs used. The interviews were conducted from 2001 to 2004. The organic olive growers were selected according to how long they had been producing organically, as it takes time to establish management practices and to overcome a possible downward turn in production following the switch to organic farming. These growers had all been operating for between 4 and 10 years. The total number of cases in Pedroches consisted of 25 organic farms (traditional dryland farming on steep slope). In Sierra Mgina, 31 organic farms (13 traditional dryland farming on moderate to steep slope and 18 irrigated farming on moderate slope) were selected. In the province of Granada, 54 organic farms (30 traditional dryland farming on moderate slope and 24 traditional to intensive irrigated farming on moderate slope) were selected. In the three regions (Pedroches, Sierra Mgina and Granada province) the organic farmers interviewed constituted 100% of those in existence which had been operating for 4 years or more. Conventional growers were chosen according to their proximity to organic ones, usually those with neighbouring plots, in order to ensure similar agro-climatic conditions, and with the same farming regime (dryland or irrigated). The total number of cases in Pedroches consisted of 28 conventional farms (traditional dryland farming on steep slope). In Sierra Mgina, 30 conventional farms (10 traditional dryland farming on moderate to steep slope and 20 irrigated farming on moderate slope) were selected. In the province of Granada, 73 conventional farms (48 traditional dryland farming on moderate slope and 25 traditional to intensive irrigated farming on moderate slope) were selected.

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Fig. 1. Location of study areas in Andalusia (Spain).

Table 1 Characteristics of study areas and olive groves under study Characteristics Soils Rainfall (mm) Climate Productivity Olive trees (ha) Dryland Pedroches comarca Sierra Mgina comarca Granada province Acid, with steep slopes 600 Subhumid Mediterranean Continental Mediterranean Continental Mediterranean Very low 125 130 7090 7090 100 130 100 140 Irrigated Picual and Nevadillo Negro Picual Picual (60%), Hojiblanca (13%), others (27%) High (especially sheep) Low Low Main varieties Integration of cattle Watering regime (%) Dryland 100 Irrigated

Basic, with moderate to steep slopes Basic, usually with moderate slopes. In some cases, terraced

400 600 300 600

Average Average

38 61

62 39

Generally, certain aspects of management were also discussed and veried with technicians from the olive-oil mill, especially if tasks were carried out jointly (irrigation, aerial crop spraying, etc.), and with irrigation communities. The data for olive production and oil yield for the last 4 years (3 years in some cases) were mainly obtained from olive-oil mill records (in Pedroches: SCA OLIPE; in Sierra Mgina: SCA El Trujal de Mgina; in Granada province: SCA San Isidro in Deifontes, SCA Nuestra Seora del Pilar in Colomera, SCA San Sebastin in Benala de las Villas, and Valls Oper SL in Campo Cmara). In some cases in Granada the data was obtained from the farmers themselves, since in some areas they are not linked to a specic cooperative, and instead sell their olives to several different ones and even through intermediaries. The technical characteristics are represented in Table 2, showing the percentage of farms which use each agricultural practice in each study area according to management type (conventional or organic). To make the table easier to interpret, dry and irrigated farming in Sierra Mgina and Granada have been grouped together, given that the practices used are similar. For the purposes of calculating energy efciency, output refers to the energy content of the material produced (olives, pruning cuttings and leaves) from the agricultural activity. Energy input refers to those sources of energy entering which have an opportunity cost in an economic sense. The energy value of agricultural inputs takes into consideration both the energy used in the transforma-

Table 2 Technical characteristics of the farms analysed in the three areas (%) Pedroches comarca Con Agricultural practices Soil cultivation Plant covers Herbicides Green manure Manure/compost Chipping of pruning cuttings Soil fertilization Foliar fertilization/fertigation Disease control Mass trapping (Bactrocera oleae) Other insect control Summer pruning Pruning frequency Cattle grazing Prepare harvest nets Harvesting Manual Branch shaker Trunk shaker 100 51 35.7 0 0 0 75 64.3 82.1 25 53.8 100 100 30.8 Oc. 100 0 0 Org 91.3 82.6 0 17.4 17.5 0 43.5 47.8 73.9 65.2 0 100 100 86.9 Oc. 100 0 0 Sierra Mgina comarca Con 60 0 87 0 Oc. 0 100 100 100 0 100 100 100 0 90 23.9 76.1 0 Org 90 68 0 0 100 0 Oc. 100 100 100 Oc. 100 100 13 32 65 35 0 Granada province Con 91.8 3.4 75.3 0 8.2 2.7 86.3 86.2 85.4 0 79.5 100 100 0 42.5 37 52 11 Org 83 43.8 0 28 92.6 8.8 20.4 51.9 59.3 1.9 33.3 100 100 11 25.9 57 26 17

Note: Org = organic, Con = conventional, Oc. = occasional.

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Table 3 Basic data for calculating energy of raw materials, manufacture, and repair and maintenance of machinery Machinery UL (H) UL (N) Power (kW) Weight (kg) Raw mats. (MJ/kg) Manufacture (MJ/kg) Rep.-Mainten. (%) Tractor: 2 RM, 41 kw Tractor: 2 RM, 50 kw Tractor: 44, 50 kw Tractor: 44, 60 kw Tractor: 44, 75 kw Tractor: 44, 90 kw Tractor: 44, 100 kw Tractor with shaker Hand-held trimmer Backpack sprayer Rotavator Chainsaw Branch shaker Centrifugal fertilizer spreader Sprayer tank (100400 l) Sprayer tank (400600 l) Sprayer tank (1000 l) Sprayer tank (10002000 l) Cultivator Disc harrow Tine harrow Trailer (0.71 t) Trailer (56 t) Trailer (8 t) Roller Chipper 12,000 12,000 16,000 16,000 16,000 16,000 16,000 16,000 2000 2000 2000 2000 2000 1200 1500 1500 1500 1500 2500 2500 2000 5000 5000 5000 2500 2000 10 10 12 12 12 12 12 12 6 6 6 6 6 10 10 10 10 10 12 12 15 15 15 15 15 10 41 50 50 60 75 90 100 110 1.84 1.84 7.35 1.84 1.84 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2300 3400 3900 4200 4700 5200 5500 9000 10 10 80 10 15 200 100 200 400 600 700 700 500 300 1600 2500 700 720 49.4 49.4 49.4 49.4 49.4 49.4 49.4 50.3 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.8 14.7 14.7 14.7 14.7 14.7 14.7 14.7 13.0 7.4 7.4 7.4 7.4 7.4 8.6 8.6 8.6 8.6 8.6 8.6 8.6 8.6 8.6 8.6 8.6 8.6 8.6 49 49 49 49 49 49 49 24 26 26 26 26 26 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 26 (MJ/kg) 31.4 31.4 31.4 31.4 31.4 31.4 31.4 15.2 18.3 18.3 18.3 18.3 18.3 21.4 21.4 21.4 21.4 21.4 21.4 21.4 21.4 21.4 21.4 21.4 21.4 18.6 G.I. Guzmn, A.M. Alonso / Agricultural Systems xxx (2008) xxxxxx

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Sources: Weight, N (number of years) and H (hours) of useful life (UL) have been obtained via consultation with various companies. Energy gures are taken from Doering (1980), except those of repair and maintenance of nonmotorized machinery, which were taken from Mughal (1994, in Audsley et al., 1997).

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tion of the products into the state in which they are used by farmers and the content energy. With respect to energy output (net primary production), olive oil has an energy content of 37.6 MJ/kg (Mataix and Maas, 1998). For organic waste products (alperujo and leaves which accumulate in the olive-oil mills during olive processing, and pruning cuttings) an energy content of 16.75 MJ/kg of dry material was used (Campos and Naredo, 1980). The leaf has an average moisture of 38.7% (our data, not published) and constitutes 5% of olive production. The alperujo has an average moisture of 64% (Cegarra, 1998) and constitutes 80% of olive production. For calculating the quantity and type of pruning cuttings, the algorithms of Civantos and Olid (1982) were used, and for the moisture of these, the data provided by Ferreira et al. (1986). The biomass of the different plant covers used (wild or sown) in the different types of olive groves (dryland or irrigated) was measured directly in the eld over several years, taking an average in each case for use in our calculations (Foraster et al., 2006a,b). On the other part, the energy consumption of machinery and implements is attributable to four factors: production of raw materials, manufacture, repair and maintenance (Table 3), and fuel consumption. The fuel energy gures (content plus industrial manufacture) are 43.33 MJ/l for diesel and 39.69 MJ/l for petrol (Leach, 1976). These values are slightly lower than those of Cervinka (1980) in Pimentel (1992, p. 19). With regard to human labour, a value of 2.2 MJ/h was used. These values are based on the total energy content of all consumed food (Fluck, 1992, p. 33). Numerous other authors have used similar values based on this approach (Strapatsa et al., 2006; Kaltsas et al., 2007; Ozturk et al., 2006; Gndogmus, 2006). For the team of mules a work energy value of 122.4 MJ/h was used (Guzmn and Gonzlez de Molina, 2006; Campos and Naredo, 1980). The energy values taken for industrial and biological inputs used in our case studies are set out in Tables 4 and 5. In the case of the nettle extract, produced locally by the olive growers using artisan techniques, the human work energy invested into its production was considered. The energy which appears in Table 5 for compost and manure is renewable and it refers to that which is contained in the product. The majority of olive farmers use local resources (manure and alperujo) which they manage themselves. For this reason, the energy involved in its production process (collection of raw materials, turning the compost. . .) which includes hu-

Table 5 Energy content of biological inputs used in the case studies Biological inputs Vetch seed (Vicia sativa) Commercial compost Cow manure Sheep manure Poultry manure Alperujo compost Nettle extract Total energy (MJ/kg or l) 15.9 10.5 3.8 11.1 10.9 13.3 0.27

man labour and machinery is calculated separately, and has been added to the rest of the human labour and the use of machinery involved in olive grove management. In the case of commercial compost, which is used very little, the manufacturing energy is considered to be equal to that of the alperujo compost made by the farmers. The energy cost of irrigation has been calculated using data on consumption provided by local irrigation associations or by the electricity supply company (Endesa). Losses through generation and transport of the energy were estimated at 70%, thus 1 kW h is equivalent to 12.1 MJ. The energy value for the irrigation network per hectare was also calculated, estimating that its useful life is 10 years and that it consists of 57 m of 50 mm polythene tubing with an energy cost of 13.5 MJ/m, 54 m of 16 mm polythene tubing with an energy cost of 3.9 MJ/m, and 1248 m of 12 mm tubing with an energy cost of 1.1 MJ/m. In the case of fertilizers being added to irrigation water, the energy content of these was added in. Fertigation is more common in conventional systems. Renewable energy production in the year 2004 made up 6.9% of the total in Spain (MAPA, 2005b), so this percentage was therefore taken into account when calculating the non-renewable energy used in the manufacture of the means of production (machinery, industrial products and irrigation). 3. Results and discussion The production of oil, the olive growers prime economic objective, shows more variable performance according to type of management (Table 6). Contrary to what one might expect, the least productive agro-ecosystem, Pedroches, shows a poorer performance for organic olive growing than for the conventional kind, with average oil production at 14% lower than that of conventional olive growing. This is mainly due to the fact that in an area with such low land productivity, farmers strategies for maintaining the viability of their projects become diversied. Thus some of

Table 4 Total energy (content + manufacturing) of industrial inputs used in the case studies Active ingredient (a.i.) N P K MCPA Simazine Chlorsulfuron Diuron Glyphosate Diquat Paraquat Coppers and sulphurs Cypermethrin Dimethoate, Malathion Mineral oil Potassium soap Ammonium phosphate Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Polyethylene trapsa Sources: Green (1987) and Pimentel (1992). a MJ/unity. Total energy (MJ/kg a.i.) 80 14 9 127.7 188.3 365.4 274.5 454 400 459.4 176 580 228.8 43.2 43.0 24.3 77.2 4.4

Table 6 Average olive oil (l/ha) and dry matter production (kg/ha) according to management type and area Area Type Olive oil (l/ha) 172 201 502 525 792 805 543 514 761 790 Alperujo (kg/ha) 246 283 667 697 1051 1068 720 682 1010 1049 Leaves (kg/ha) 26 30 71 74 112 114 77 73 107 112 Pruning cuttings (kg/ha) 429 430 1120 1175 1816 1848 1217 1147 1741 1813 Plant covers (kg/ha) 383 154 206 0 916 0 432 0 1017 135

Pedroches Mgina-dryland Mgina-irrigated Granada-dryland Granada-irrigated

Org Con Org Con Org Con Org Con Org Con

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the olive groves which are certied as organic are practically abandoned, with minimum human intervention for maintaining the trees, and their economic protability relies on agri-environmental subsidies. However, the main purpose of the majority of these olive groves is cattle grazing (we can see in Table 2 that nearly 87% of organic olive growing incorporates cattle) and oil production simply serves to supplement the family income. In Sierra Mgina and Granada the differences in oil production are very small, with organic production slightly lower in three cases (a reduction of 2 4%) and slightly higher in the case of dryland farming in Granada (an increase of 6%). The net primary production (NPP) of energy per hectare in olive groves varies according to different factors, among which the most relevant are the agro-climatic characteristics of the area, irrigation and type of management. Table 7 shows that the NPP of energy in Pedroches, an area with steep slopes and poor soils, is around 45% of that obtained in other zones with dryland farming. Likewise,

irrigation produces marked differences. We nd that even within the same area, for example in Sierra Mgina, the productivity of dryland varies between a half and two thirds of that attained on irrigated land. With regard to type of management, energy productivity is between 2% and 20% higher for organic olive groves than for the conventional ones in each area. The greater presence of plant covers between the rows of olive trees makes a fundamental contribution to this, whereas with conventional management the soil is usually kept bare using herbicides and machinery. To achieve these relatively small increases in land productivity seen across the different areas, watering regimes and types of management, the difference in the quantity of energy invested is enormous (Tables 8 and 9), showing the low response of olive growing to intensication and its high adaptability to marginal environments. The differences between areas are highlighted by the imported energy consumed per unit of surface area in Pedroches, which is between 7% and 31% of that required in other dry-land

Table 7 Net primary production (MJ/ha) according to management type and area Area Pedroches Mgina-dryland Mgina-irrigated Granada-dryland Granada-irrigated Type Org Con Org Con Org Con Org Con Org Con Olive oil 6479 7548 18,889 19,745 29,765 30,263 20,408 19,320 28,603 29,717 Alperujo 4114 4746 11,166 11,673 17,596 17,891 12,064 11,421 16,909 17,568 Leaves 438 505 1188 1242 1873 1904 1284 1216 1800 1870 Pruning cuttings 7184 7207 18,753 19,671 30,408 30,942 20,381 19,215 29,162 30,356 Plant covers 6417 2586 3447 0 15,344 0 7236 0 17,032 2257 Total 24,632 22,591 53,443 52,331 94,985 81,000 61,372 51,171 93,505 81,767

Table 8 Imported energy consumed by factors according to management type and area (GJ/ha) Area Pedroches Mgina-dryland Mgina-irrigated Granada-dryland Granada-irrigated Type Con Org Con Org Con Org Con Org Con Org Human labour 0.15 0.14 0.27 0.32 0.36 0.37 0.21 0.24 0.39 0.36 Machinery 4.11 3.41 8.62 10.72 10.62 13.94 9.17 9.94 12.23 18.54 Team of mules 0.06 0.17 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.02 0.06 0.00 Industrial products 1.04 0.32 9.94 0.90 14.52 0.68 7.70 0.73 9.74 1.69 Organic matter and seed 0.00 0.87 3.73 14.09 11.67 28.36 0.09 61.99 1.42 101.30 Irrigation system 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 19.18 19.18 0.00 0.00 17.53 9.03 Total 5.36 4.92 22.56 26.03 56.35 62.54 17.17 72.92 41.37 130.93

Table 9 Imported energy consumed by practices according to management type and area (GJ/ha) Area Type Soil cultivation 1.20 0.84 1.77 2.75 2.61 6.19 5.00 5.21 4.26 6.63 Plant covers 0.00 0.03 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.58 0.00 0.26 Soil fertilization 1.05 1.38 13.91 18.00 20.63 32.03 7.63 64.01 5.07 106.16 Foliar fertilization/ fertigation 0.40 0.30 1.62 2.23 8.51 1.92 0.73 0.97 5.61 1.28 Chipping of pruning cuttings 0.00 0.00 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.05 0.02 0.00 0.10 Pruning Insect control 0.60 0.69 0.65 0.58 0.78 0.54 0.50 0.17 1.99 0.69 Disease control 0.62 0.62 0.97 0.96 1.15 0.81 0.56 0.18 1.76 2.27 Weed control 0.40 0.00 1.83 0.12 1.69 0.09 0.65 0.11 1.02 0.24 Irrigation Harvesting Total

Pedroches Mgina-dryland Mgina-irrigated Granada-dryland Granada-irrigated

Con Org Con Org Con Org Con Org Con Org

0.12 0.08 0.16 0.17 0.20 0.21 0.46 0.42 0.41 0.44

0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 19.18 19.18 0.00 0.00 17.53 9.03

0.97 0.98 1.63 1.20 1.58 1.55 1.59 1.25 3.72 3.83

5.36 4.92 22.56 26.03 56.35 62.54 17.17 72.92 41.37 130.93

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agro-ecosystems. With regard to watering regime, for the same area and type of management, the energy consumed in irrigated farming is 1.82.5 times higher than that used in dryland farming. This energy is attributable to the pumping of water from lower levels and to the establishment of the water distribution network itself, but also to the enormous increase in the use of inputs, particularly fertilizers, which accompanies the incorporation of an irrigation system in order to achieve an increase in olive production. Lastly, the type of management presents us with more diverse situations. In Pedroches, due to the reasons explained above, organic production imports 9% less energy per hectare, in Sierra Mgina it imports somewhat more (between 11% and 15%), and in Granada there is a huge increase (3.24.2 times more). The difference between organic management in Sierra Mgina and Granada is mainly attributable to different fertilising strategies. In Granada greater quantities of local organic fertilizer (manure and alperujo compost) are incorporated into the soil without the use of adequate machinery, whilst in Sierra Mgina more foliar fertilizer, fertigation (on irrigated land) and commercial organic fertilizers are used, which are more concentrated and therefore require lower doses, so less energy is needed to apply them. However, the high energy input involved in fertilizing the soil for organic production in Granada (Table 9) mainly corresponds to that contained in the organic material used as fertilizer (Table 8). It is therefore renewable in character, and brings about an enrichment of highly mineralised and degraded soils, improving their physical, chemical and biological properties. The other practice which uses more energy in organic production than in the conventional kind is that of working the soil, which in conventional production is partially substituted by the use of

Fig. 2. Relationship between the ratio of reused biomass energy to total biomass consumed and the net efciency of all the dryland organic farms under study.

herbicides. For its part, organic production saves energy on pesticide and herbicide treatments and on fertigation. Organic farming generally goes hand in hand with higher labour demands, an aspect which has been considered a limiting factor for its growth (Loake, 2001). In the cases analysed here, the energy invested in the form of human labour in organic olive production compared with conventional production is very variable, ranging from 7% to 8% lower on irrigated in Granada and on Pedroches to 1419% higher on dryland in Granada and on Sierra Mgina. The main practices attributable to these increases are the scattering of organic fertilizer and, to a lesser degree, the clearing of plant covers. However, both practices could be more efcient, thus reducing the input of mechanical and human energy, if carried out with the adequate machinery and only when strictly necessary, given that in general both are employed too frequently. On the other hand, the quantity of biomass which is reused with respect to the total organic material (re-uses + imported organic fertilizing material) gives us an idea of the level of integration of energy ows in organic dryland farming projects and, to a certain degree, of the net efciency of these projects (Fig. 2). This does not occur with irrigated farming due to greater energy requirements for irrigation in the net inputs used (see Table 10), and to the substitution of manure or compost for fertigation (concentrated organic fertilizers used in low doses). For dryland farming, the level of integration is at its highest in organic projects in Pedroches (0.88) and at its lowest for those in Granada (0.12). As olive production becomes more intensive via irrigation, the gross and net efciency is ostensibly reduced within the same type of management, and even almost independently of this (Table 10). In fact, these indicators reach their maximum level in Pedroches, where each unit of net energy invested is almost quadrupled in organic and conventional olive production. These values are similar to those obtained by Kaltsas et al. (2007) for organic (3.31) and conventional (3.02) olive growing on the island of Thasos in Greece. With regard to type of management, net efciency is lower in organic production, mainly due to incorporated organic material originating from other ecosystems. Nevertheless, organic olive growing may improve this efciency in the future, given that the addition of organic fertilizers (for example manure, compost, green manure) builds up an adequate pool of humus in the soil, and its gradual mineralization allows the farmer to reduce doses down to maintenance level over the course of time. Long-term experiments in organic farming are highly illustrative of this aspect (Raupp et al., 2006). For example, Raviv et al. (2006) showed that compost application rates were reduced by half after the rst 4 years of conversion in organic orchards; nevertheless, no decline in nutrient levels in the organic treatments could be detected.

Table 10 Energy results and indicators for conventional and organic olive growing in study areas Area Pedroches Mginadryland Mginairrigated Granadadryland Granadairrigated Type Con Org Con Org Con Org Con Org Con Org NPP (GJ/ha) 22.59 24.63 52.33 53.44 81.00 94.98 51.17 61.37 81.77 93.51 Re-uses (GJ/ha) 2.59 6.42 0.00 3.45 0.00 15.34 0.47 8.67 2.26 27.43 GI (GJ/ha) 7.95 11.34 22.56 29.48 56.35 77.88 17.64 81.59 43.62 158.35 GE (GJ/GJ) 2.8 2.2 2.3 1.8 1.4 1.2 2.9 0.8 1.9 0.6 NO (GJ/ha) 20.00 18.21 52.33 49.99 81.00 79.64 50.70 52.70 79.51 66.08 NI (GJ/ha) 5.36 4.92 22.56 26.03 56.35 62.54 17.17 72.92 41.37 130.93 NE (GJ/GJ) 3.8 3.8 2.3 1.9 1.4 1.3 3.0 0.7 1.9 0.5 NRE (GJ/ha) 4.79 3.47 17.28 10.82 41.26 31.47 15.71 9.94 36.77 27.25 NREE (GJ/GJ) 4.2 5.2 3.0 4.6 2.0 2.5 3.2 5.3 2.2 2.4 OOE (GJ/ha) 7.55 6.48 19.75 18.89 30.26 29.76 19.32 20.41 29.72 28.60 ONRE (GJ/GJ) 1.6 1.9 1.1 1.7 0.7 0.9 1.2 2.1 0.8 1.0 EI (MJ/l) 23.9 20.2 32.9 21.5 51.3 39.8 30.6 18.3 46.5 35.8

Notes: NPP: net primary production; Re-uses: plant covers, pruning cuttings and alperujo; GI: gross inputs (Re-uses + human labour + imports); GE: gross efciency (NPP/GI); NO: net output (NPP Re-uses); NI: net input (human labour + imports); NE: net efciency (NO/NI); NRE: non-renewable energy; NREE: non-renewable energy efciency (NO/NRE); OOE: olive oil energy; ONRE: non-renewable energy efciency with respect to olive oil output (OOE/NRE); EI: energy intensity (NRE/litre olive oil).

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One interesting strategy to increase the net efciency of organic olive growing would be to increase reusage, thus closing the cycle of nutrients as far as possible. As we explained above, oil exports practically no edaphic nutrients. The majority of these are contained in the waste products which are left behind at the olive-oil mill, and can therefore be composted to produce an organic fertilizer of a composition which is well adapted to the needs of olive trees (Cegarra, 1998; Aragn and Palancar, 2000). Thus the installation of composting plants linked to olive-oil mills and the use of this compost would allow farmers to reduce imports of organic material from other ecosystems. Another way of increasing net efciency would be to extend the use of plant covers to other farms; although this is already relatively high in organic olive farms (between 43.8% and 82.6%, see Table 2) there is still room for improvement. The entrance of atmospheric nitrogen through legumes of the plant covers would also allow for a reduction in the application of external organic fertilizers. But the indicator which best allows us to accurately evaluate the energy sustainability of production processes is the nonrenewable energy (NRE) efciency, that is to say, the relationship between the nal output and the NRE used in these processes. According to the results obtained (Table 10), olive groves on dryland, independently of area and management type, are more efcient than those on irrigated land, in fact up to 2.2 times more in the case of organic olive groves in Granada. This is due to the high energy cost involved in extracting and distributing water, and to the more intensive management which this entails (fertilization, use of machinery, etc.); a cost which is not ultimately compensated by higher production. NRE efciency in organic olive growing is also higher than that of the conventional kind in each area. Indeed, is it slightly greater for organic olive growing on irrigated land in Granada and up to 1.6 times higher on dryland in Granada; and over all three areas, organic olive growing on dryland manages to reduce total NRE investment by 31.3% on average compared with the conventional kind on dryland, in order to obtain the same nal output. The saving on NRE in organic production is mainly due to the fact that fewer industrial products are used, and particularly to the fact that chemical fertilizers are never used. Oil is currently the olive crops only commercial product. Waste products from olive-oil mills are often stored in pools and a large part of the cuttings from pruning are simply burnt rather than reused. Although this situation is starting to change due to industry demands for renewable energy sources in order to reduce CO2 emissions, it may be of interest, above all for consumers, to be aware of the ratios of NRE consumption associated with the products in this case, the olive oil which they purchase. It is worth noting that on irrigated land the gures obtained show that the NRE invested can actually be greater than the energy contained in the nal product, for a species which has occupied centre stage in pre-industrial Mediterranean society as an energy crop. Lastly, the energy intensity indicator shows that irrigated systems and conventional olive growing use more energy per litre of oil produced (Table 10). Thus 1 l of conventional oil from irrigated land in Sierra Mgina has 2.8 times more NRE invested in it than a litre of organic oil from dryland in Granada. 4. Conclusions In olive growing the technology which most compromises energy efciency, especially the non-renewable kind, is irrigation. Therefore, bearing in mind that water is a resource which is becoming ever scarcer in the Mediterranean region, its use is questionable for a crop which is adapted to dryland, especially when it entails an overexploitation of the water supply network and there-

fore constitutes an unsustainable use of this resource. This is the case in Sierra Mgina, for example, where measures are being put in place to top up their most important aquifers by articial means (with wastewater and excess water reservoirs), in order to resolve the overexploitation problems currently affecting them (Murillo, 2002). From the point of view of sustainability, it is important to maintain dryland areas in the Mediterranean region. These productive spaces have played a fundamental role in pre-industrial agriculture, generating sufcient renewable energy (grains-fodder and stubble for draft cattle, rewood...) to make the agro-ecosystems work together as a whole and, ultimately, to keep society running (Gonzlez de Molina and Guzmn, 2006; Cuss et al., 2006). This role, adapted to the current technological and socioeconomic conditions, could be reinstated for the future, contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and other negative externalities on natural resources, such as the overexploitation and eutrophication of water supplies (Audsley et al., 1997). In this sense, organic farming is contributing effectively to improving NRE efciency, not only with dryland olive groves, where it is 1.48 times higher on average for organic management than for conventional management, but also with other dryland and irrigated crops (Berardi, 1978; Pimentel et al., 1983; Lacasta and Meco, 2000; Dalgaard et al., 2001; Haas et al., 2001; Gndogmus, 2006; Wood et al., 2006; Grnroos et al., 2006; Kaltsas et al., 2007). Based on the categories analysed here, it could be concluded that the contribution of organic olive growing, especially on dryland, to NRE saving in Andalusia is considerable. Of the 42,148 hectares in existence at the end of 2006, between 60% and 65% are traditional dryland olive groves on steep Pedroches-style slope and 20% are traditional dryland olive groves on moderate Sierra Mgina or Granada-style slope. Only 6.4% of organic olive groves in Andalusia are on irrigated land. Those which remain to make up the 100% fall into other dryland categories which have not been taken into consideration in this study, as they are widely dispersed across the Andalusian territory and not representative of the overall situation (unpublished data provided by the Regional Government of Andalusias Department of Agriculture and Fisheries). Nevertheless, there is room for further improvement in the sustainability of organic olive growing through greater self sufciency within the territory it occupies and, consequently, a lower rate of importation of energy ows originating from other ecosystems. The use of alperujo compost and temporary plant covers are strategies which do not involve extra land usage. This is a highly relevant point, since the need of organic projects to devote part of their farmland to generating the ows of nutrients and energy required to effectively reduce imports of organic material from other agro-ecosystems has on occasions been considered a drawback of organic production (Kumm, 2002). Moreover, it is feasible to cut down further on the unnecessary use of machinery for soil preparation and weed control. This should be reduced to those occasions when it is strictly necessary, i.e. at the end of spring and summer to avoid competition for water and nutrients, and the risk of re presented by permanent dry grasses between the trees. Although in recent years organic olive cultivation has made great progress in this respect, it now being rare to nd an olive grower who does not leave plant cover between rows, they have made very little in the eld of composting. There are two major reasons to explain this: the maintenance of plant covers is an individual decision and can be done at practically no extra cost compared with alternative practices, whilst building a composting plant is a collective undertaking and requires relatively high nancial investment. The execution of these works could be incentivised through political means (subsidies, tax exemptions...) based on the benets they would bring.

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The energy use as biomass of pruning cuttings and of biofuels for machinery, even if originating from other ecosystems, would also improve olive growings contribution to the reduction of greenhouse emissions. The use of biofuels could increase the energy efciency of agricultural systems in general, although it would involve more extensive land use, which would need to be taken into consideration (Fredriksson et al., 2006). Acknowledgments This research has been supported by the European Commission (FAIR CT98-4288), the Education and Science Ministry of Spain (SEC2000-1777-CE) and the Innovation, Science and Enterprise Department of Andalusia Government. References
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