Barnea is a vigorous tree with an erect growth habit and sparse canopy. This variety responds very well to modern olive production techniques and is ideally suited to mechanical harvesting. It comes into production early and has high and constant productivity under irrigation.
Barnea was bred for oil production but can be used for green or black table olives. The fruit is medium sized, not dissimilar to Kalamata in appearance. It is elongated with a nipple and many large lenticels. Barnea is a very productive variety and the fruit has a low attachment facilitating mechanical harvesting. The fruit ripens early to intermediate.
The oil content is medium to high and it is relatively easy to extract. The character of the oil is mild and smooth and provides the opportunity to blend with oil from other varieties. Initial harvests in Australia of oil from this variety have been very well received wining prizes at many oil shows in Australia and Italy. The smooth and subtle character of Barnea is one that consumers not accustomed to the bitter and more pungent character oils will be able to appreciate.
Barnea was bred in Israel specifically for modern olive production methods. Its responds extremely well to irrigation and comes into production early in its life. Because of its erect growth habit it suitable to be planted slightly closer together than other varieties. In Israel the Barnea produces commercial returns in year three. In Australia Barnea needs cross-pollination to maximise fruit set. Picholine is the preferred pollinator in Israel; however in Australia we have seen good results with Picual and Manzanillo as well. Barnea is not as tolerant to certain adverse conditions as some other varieties. Barnea is particularly tolerant of peacock spot but is sensitive verticillium wilt and frosts.