How to decide what to buy: olives shaker
Rosalba Zagara

Every year during the season of olives’ harvesting, in the various forums, blog and websites open the debate on what is the fastest collection tool.

Excluding the hand-picking, due to the extreme slowness (unless in the case of table olives that must be harvested with extreme care), on the market there are different methods: trunk towed or self-propelled shaker, pneumatic or electric olive harvester with comb,  branch backpack shaker.

Towed (by agricultural tractors) and self-propelled shakers, are certainly fast and effective, but for reasons of purchase prices (tens of thousands of euro) and operating costs are dedicated to the owners of a large number of olive trees;  they must be used in areas easily accessible and on flat land or gentle hills.

The machine is fast and effective in the presence of plants genetically suitable for form of cultivation and pruning (the size of the foliage should not be excessive). The action produced at the base of the trunk from the vibrating head, is effective if the structure of the tree has trunk and branches rigid to transmit the vibration and determine the fall of the fruits.

In case of rain then, the self-propelled machines, because of their weight, can not access the olive grove to not damage the soil excessively.

Machines equipped with umbrella don’t require the nets and grant a fast collection of the product.

A method of collecting widespread is the olive harvester with combs, electric or pneumatic; the use of these machines, although common, is not the ideal for the olive tree: the combs during the normal use damage the more young twigs and buds, affecting the productivity of the olive for the following year. In addition with this method the olives drop out of the nets.

This harvesting system is relatively slow and to have discrete time of collection should be used teams of people. The intensive use is quite tiring because of the machine weighs on the operator who has to hold it with the sheer force of arms, without supports.

Electric machines also have high operating costs for the replacement of the battery, while the pneumatic ones involve the inconvenience of having to go to the olive grove with the compressor and having to move it when changing the working area.

The branch backpack shaker is currently the most widely method of harvesting in Spain by large producers who, organized in numerous teams, can pick up very quickly on large surfaces. There are producers with dozens of shakers.

It is used both in family ambit (small and medium-sized olive groves, with 100 and up olive trees) than in professional (contractors), and thanks to its versatility it can be used in old or young plants.


Furthermore, although heavier than an olive harvester with comb, is not used at “cantilevered” but is brought, through a shoulder strap, such as a guitar and, once hooked the branch, the weight is no longer supported by the operator but from the same branch.

The collection takes place by gravity as a result of the vibrations transmitted to the branch with a very limited number of olives that fall outside the nets.

In order to enhance the features of this machine, and then achieve optimal and fast harvest, it is necessary to prune the plants to leave the production of olives only on the main branches, taking care to prune all the little suckers; on unpruned plants or with branches too short, the yield and the speed decrease.

The Cifarelli SpA manufactures shaker for professional use since 1998; we believe it is a very effective means in the cost/performance ratio for the olive harvest. Indeed we produce two models that are described on our website.

You simply have to choose the model that best suits your needs and … good harvest.

Rosalba Zagara

About Rosalba Zagara

Marketing Cifarelli Spa
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