Mosaic Corporation Plants Olives on Re-Claimed Phosphate Mine Land
Bowling Green, FL – Mosaic Corporation is a large phosphate producer in Florida. Phosphate is a principal ingredient in fertilizer. It is mined by stripping away the top soil, digging out the phosphate rock below and then pushing the top soil back. After the top soil is replaced, Mosaic Corporation invests in making the land productive again by planting crops.
In 2014, Tom Posphichal, Mosaic’s Land Utilization Manager asked the Florida Olive Council to assist in designing and installing an experimental olive grove on re-claimed phosphate land near Bowling Green, FL. The Council drafted a plot design incorporating a low density grove to assess various cultivars and a high density design to address high volume commercial olive oil production.
Forty (40) olive trees representing 10 individual varieties were planted on 14′ centers and 15′ between rows in the low density plot. The varieties included: Aglandau, Ascolana, Coratina, Empeltre, Frantoio, Grignan, Kalamata, Manzanillo de Sevilla, Pendolino and Taggiasca. The 10 varieties were randomized within the 4 rows of 10 trees. While most of the varieties survived, the Empeltre appears to favor the re-claimed mine soil conditions. The four (4) individual Empeltre have clearly outgrown the other varieties.
In 2015, Mosaic installed a high-density test plot with 500 trees of three varieties: Arbequina (90%), Koroneiki (5%) and Arbosona (5%). The Arbequina is one of the top oil producers and is widely grown around the world. The Koroneiki and Arbosona are planted to provide additional pollination.
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