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Individual study: Effects of Cover Crops on Grapevines, Yield, Juice Composition, Soil Microbial Ecology, and Gopher Activity

Published source details

Ingels C.A., Scow K.M., Whisson D.A. & Drenovsky R.E. (2005) Effects of Cover Crops on Grapevines, Yield, Juice Composition, Soil Microbial Ecology, and Gopher Activity. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, 56, 19-29


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Crop production: Plant or maintain ground cover in orchards or vineyards Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1996–2000 in an irrigated vineyard in the Sacramento Valley, California, USA, found no differences in grape yield or quality between plots with or without cover crops between the vine rows. Crop yield: Similar grape yields were found in plots with or without cover crops between the vine rows (18–28 vs 19–30 kg/vine). Crop quality: No consistent differences in grape quality were found in plots with or without cover crops (see publication for data on Brix, pH, and titratable acidity). Methods: There were four plots for each of four cover crops (1.8 m width, between vine rows of 3.4 width), and there were four control plots (periodically disked between the vine rows). Each plot was 10 contiguous vines and two adjacent interrows. The cover crops were Californian native grasses (not tilled, mown), annual clover (not tilled, mown), barley and oats (mown and disked), or legumes and barley (mown and disked in spring and used as a green manure). The Californian native grasses were seeded between the vine rows in autumn 1996. The others were seeded in autumn 1997–1999. All plots were drip irrigated, fertigated (20 kg N/ha/year), and the grass cover crops were also fertilized with urea (45 kg N/ha/year). Herbicide was used under the vines. Grape quality was measured in 150 grapes/plot.

Water: Plant or maintain ground cover in orchards or vineyards Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1996–2000 in an irrigated vineyard in the Sacramento Valley, California, USA, found that less water was available to grape leaves in plots with cover crops, compared to bare soil, between the vine rows. Water availability: Less water was available to grape leaves in plots with cover crops, compared to bare soil, between the vine rows, in three of 16 comparisons (midday water potential: –1.22 to –0.91 vs –1.11 to –0.82). Implementation options: More water was available to grape leaves in plots that were cover cropped with barley and oats, compared to other cover crops, in three of 12 comparisons (midday water potential: –1.08 to –0.82 vs –1.22 to –0.91). Methods: There were four plots for each of four cover crops (1.8 m width, between vine rows of 3.4 m width), and there were four control plots (periodically disked between the vine rows). Each plot was 10 contiguous vines and two adjacent interrows. The cover crops were Californian native grasses (not tilled, mown), annual clover (not tilled, mown), barley and oats (mown and disked), or legumes and barley (mown and disked in spring and used as a green manure). The Californian native grasses were seeded between the vine rows in autumn 1996. The others were seeded in autumn 1997–1999. All plots were drip irrigated, fertigated (20 kg N/ha/year), and the grass cover crops were also fertilized with urea (45 kg N/ha/year). Herbicide was used under the vines. Midday water potential was measured before irrigation in June and July 1998, May 1999, and June 2000 (pump-up pressure chamber, three leaves/plot).

 

Pest regulation: Plant or maintain ground cover in orchards or vineyards Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1996–2000 in an irrigated vineyard in the Sacramento Valley, California, USA, found more pocket gophers in plots that were cover cropped with clovers, compared to other species of cover crops. Implementation options: More Thomomys spp. pocket gophers were found in plots that were cover cropped with clovers, compared to other cover crops (0.9–6.7% vs 0–0.3% of each plot had signs of gophers). Similar numbers of weeds were found in plots with different cover crops (0.15–0.41 t dry weight/planted ha). Methods: There were four plots for each of four cover crops (1.8 m width, between vine rows of 3.4 width), and there were four control plots (periodically disked between the vine rows). Each plot was 10 contiguous vines and two adjacent interrows. The cover crops were Californian native grasses (not tilled, mown), annual clover (not tilled, mown), barley and oats (mown and disked), or legumes and barley (mown and disked in spring and used as a green manure). The Californian native grasses were seeded between the vine rows in autumn 1996. The others were seeded in autumn 1997–1999. All plots were drip irrigated, fertigated (20 kg N/ha/year), and the grass cover crops were also fertilized with urea (45 kg N/ha/year). Herbicide was used under the vines. Weeds were sampled in the cover crops in April 1998–2000 (four samples/plot, 1.0 x 0.5 m quadrats). Gophers were sampled in January, February, and March 1999 (looking for mounds and feeding holes that were less than two days old, throughout the plots).