Study

Cover crops and tillage in a mature merlot vineyard show few effects on grapevines

  • Published source details Steenwerth K.L., McElrone A.J., Calderón-Orellana A., Hanifin R.C., Storm C., Collatz W. & Manuck C. (2013) Cover crops and tillage in a mature merlot vineyard show few effects on grapevines. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, 64, 515-521.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

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

Action Link
Mediterranean Farmland

Soil: Plant or maintain ground cover in orchards or vineyards

Action Link
Mediterranean Farmland
  1. Crop production: Plant or maintain ground cover in orchards or vineyards

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2008–2010 in an irrigated vineyard in the San Joaquin Valley, California, USA (same study as (14)), found lighter-weight clusters of grapes in plots with seeded cover crops, compared to resident vegetation, but found similar crop yields. Implementation options: Similar grape yields were found in plots with cover crops or resident vegetation (8–19 vs 11–19 kg/vine). Similar grape yields were found in plots with different types of seeded cover crops (oats only, or oats and legumes: 8–19 kg/vine). Higher grape yields were found in plots with no tillage, compared to conventional tillage, in one of six comparisons (in 2010, in plots that were cover cropped with oats and legumes: 13 vs 9 kg/vine). Heavier clusters of grapes were found in plots that were cover cropped with oats only, compared to oats and legumes, in one of three years (2010: 70 vs 65 g/cluster), but lighter clusters were found in one of three years (2009: 110 vs 125). Heavier clusters were also found in plots with no tillage, compared to conventional tillage, in one of six comparisons (in 2010, in plots that were cover cropped with oats and legumes: 85 vs 70 g/cluster). Lighter-weight clusters of grapes were found in plots with cover crops, compared to resident vegetation, in one of three years (2010: 65–70 vs 80 g/cluster). Methods: Either seeded cover crops or resident vegetation was grown between the vine rows on 16 plots each (two vine rows/plot, 190 vines/row). The cover crops were either oats or oats and legumes, on eight plots each, seeded in November. The plots were mown in spring, before tillage. No tillage was used on half of the plots, and conventional tillage was used on the other half. A disk plough (15–20 cm depth) was used for conventional tillage, in spring, summer (three times), and autumn. Herbicide was used to control weeds in the vine rows (50 cm width).

  2. Soil: Plant or maintain ground cover in orchards or vineyards

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2008–2010 in an irrigated vineyard in the San Joaquin Valley, California, USA, found similar amounts of nitrogen in different treatments. Implementation options: Similar amounts of nitrogen were found in soils with cover crops or resident vegetation (amounts of nitrogen not reported), in soils with different types of cover crops (oats only, or oats and legumes: amounts of nitrogen not reported), and in soils with or without tillage (amounts of nitrogen not reported). Methods: Either seeded cover crops or resident vegetation was grown between the vine rows on 16 plots each (two vine rows/plot, 190 vines/row). The cover crops were either oats or oats and legumes, on eight plots each, seeded in November. The plots were mown in spring, before tillage. No tillage was used on half of the plots, and conventional tillage was used on the other half. A disk plough (15–20 cm depth) was used for conventional tillage, in spring, summer (three times), and autumn. Herbicide was used to control weeds in the vine rows (50 cm width). Soil samples were collected in spring, before mowing and tillage (five soil cores/plot, on 40 m transects; depths not reported).

     

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