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Individual study: Influence of two different cover crops on soil N availability, N nutritional status, and grape yeast-assimilable N (YAN) in a cv. Tempranillo vineyard

Published source details

Pérez-Álvarez E.P., Garde-Cerdán T., Santamaría P., García-Escudero E. & Peregrina F. (2015) Influence of two different cover crops on soil N availability, N nutritional status, and grape yeast-assimilable N (YAN) in a cv. Tempranillo vineyard. Plant and Soil, 390, 143-156


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 2009–2011 in a rainfed vineyard in northern Spain found similar grape yields but differences in grape quality in plots with cover crops, compared to conventional tillage, between the vine rows. Crop yield: Similar grape yields were found in plots with cover crops or conventional tillage (4.2–6.2 vs 5.1–5.9 kg/vine; 14.1–16.8 vs 13.8–16.6 clusters/vine). Crop quality: Less yeast-assimilable nitrogen (which is needed for wine fermentation) was found in grapes from plots with cover crops, compared to conventional tillage, in one of six comparisons (with barley, in 2011: 48 vs 70 mg YAN/kg grape extract). Significant differences in amino acid content were found between plots with cover crops or conventional tillage (20 amino acids: see publication for details). Similar grape weight was found in plots with cover crops or conventional tillage (250–290 g/100 grapes). Implementation options: Less yeast-available nitrogen was found in grapes from plots that were cover cropped with barley, compared to clover (48 vs 77 mg YAN/kg grape extract). Methods: There were three plots (four vine rows/plot, 20 vines/row) for each of two cover crops (Hordeum vulgare barley or Trifolium resupinatum Persian clover between vine rows, sown in February 2009 and 2011), and there were three control plots (conventional tillage between vine rows: disk plough, 0–15 cm depth, every 4–6 weeks in February–August). No plots were fertilized. Herbicides were used under vine rows. Vine prunings were retained between rows. Grape yield and quality were measured in 2009–2011 (20 vines/plot, 500 grapes/plot).

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

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2009–2011 in a rainfed vineyard in northern Spain found more nitrogen and ammonium in soils with cover crops, compared to conventional tillage, between the vine rows, but found inconsistent differences in nitrate. Nutrients: More nitrogen was found in soils with cover crops, compared to conventional tillage, in one of 12 comparisons (clover, 0–15 cm depth: 2,050 vs 1,900 kg total N/ha), and more ammonium was found in two of 12 comparisons (clover, 0–15 cm depth: 5.1–6.3 vs 3.5–4.8 kg NH4-N/ha). Less nitrate was found in soils with cover crops, compared to conventional tillage, in some comparisons, but more nitrate was found in other comparisons (2–35 vs 2–26 kg N-NO3/ha). Implementation options: Less nitrate (0–15 cm depth: 2–5 vs 11–35 kg N-NO3/ha; 15–45 cm depth: 2–9 vs 15–50), and less ammonium at one of two depths (0–15 cm depth: 3–5 vs 5–6.3 kg NH4-N/ha), were found in soils that were cover cropped with grass (barley) compared to legumes (clover), after one year of cover cropping, but not before. Methods: There were three plots (four vine rows/plot, 20 vines/row) for each of two cover crops (Hordeum vulgare barley or Trifolium resupinatum Persian clover between the vine rows, sown in February 2009 and 2011), and there were three control plots (conventional tillage between the vine rows: disk plough, 0–15 cm depth, every 4–6 weeks in February–August). No plots were fertilized. Herbicides were used under the vine rows. Vine prunings were retained between the rows. Soil samples (0–45 cm depth, three samples/plot) were collected five times/season (April–September).