The selection of the Italian site has considered a range of scientifical, technical and logistical issues. We used the already well-established relationships with the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Bari and the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (the Italian operating centre of the Centre International de Hautes Etudes Agronomiques Méditerranéennes) to identify suitable olive orchards in the Puglia region, where this crop has its maximum extension in Italy.

The farm chosen was Azienda Spagnoletti in the Province of Bari, close to Andria, in a gently sloping terrain.

General view of the Azienda Spanoletti, close to Andria.

The farm is several hundreds ha large, encompassing a range of soil types and local fertility. Several patches of olive orchards differ in age, tree spacing and water management (some are rainfed, some are drip-irrigated). In general, they are quite widely spaced (8, 9 10 m) and most are older than 100 years. Average soil is shallow and stony. Despite that, an olive stand of adequate size (> 10 ha) has been found on a relatively flat terrain (estimated slope < 5%) and on a deep soil with very few stones.

View of the selected plot in the Azienda Spagnoletti

Electrical power was just 300 m from the selected plot. As a positive logistical aspect of this farm, the owner lives there and can provide some assistance and manpower for setting up the site. He is Professor (breeding) at the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Basilicata (Potenza) and that could increase his interest toward our work.