|Authors: ||J. Tous, H. Esbenshade|
|Keywords: ||Ceratonia siliqua, planting systems survey, Mediterranean areas, cultivars, yields, mechanical harvesting, production costs|
Carob orchards occur throughout the Mediterranean basin and other new world growing areas, such as Australia, in mountainous, sloping and flat areas.
The carob tree in Spain is grown on about 50,000 ha, mainly in three coastal regions (Valencia, Catalonia and Balearic Islands). This country is the world's largest producer and exporter of carob beans.
The carob in Australia is considered a new crop where the growing area is about 400 hectares (ha), mainly in South Australia (SA) and Western Australia (WA). Since the 1980s, increased carob plantings in several regions of these countries have been associated with an intensification of the orchards.
The productivity of Spain's traditional carob orchards (50 trees ha-1) is relatively low and the harvesting cost is very high.
Several authors recommend higher densities of about 150-200 trees ha-1 with drip irrigation and mechanical harvesting for improved yields and economic viability.
This comparative study of traditional and modern intensive orchard models growing in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres reveals differences between ecological conditions and technologies in the following variables: manpower and investment costs, yield potential, and the costs of cultural practices and harvesting.
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