Influence of cover crop treatments on the performance of a vineyard in a humid region release_o6yaumtobfgrjjam4lsz4bntwi

by Emiliano Trigo-Córdoba, Yolanda Bouzas-Cid, Ignacio Orriols-Fernández, Emilia Díaz-Losada, Jose M. Mirás-Avalos

Published in Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research by Instituto Nacional de Investigacion y Tecnologia Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA).

2015   Volume 13, e0907

Abstract

Vineyards are usually managed by tilling the inter-rows to avoid competition from other plants for soil water and nutrients. However, in humid and sub-humid climates, such as that of NW Spain, cover crops may be an advantage for controlling vine vegetative growth and improving berry composition, while reducing management costs. The current study was conducted over three consecutive growing seasons (2012-2014) to assess the effects of establishing three permanent cover crop treatments on water relations, vine physiology, yield and berry composition of a vineyard of the red cultivar 'Mencía' (<em>Vitis vinifera </em>L.) located in Leiro, Ourense. Treatments consisted of four different soil management systems: ST, soil tillage; NV, native vegetation; ER, English ryegrass (<em>Lolium perenne</em> L.); and SC, subterranean clover (<em>Trifolium subterraneum</em> L.). Midday stem water potential was more negative in the native vegetation treatment, causing significant reductions in leaf stomatal conductance on certain dates. Total vine leaf area and pruning weight was reduced in the cover crop treatments in the last year of the experiment. Yield was unaffected by the presence of a cover crop. No significant differences among treatments were observed for berry composition; however, wines were positively affected by the SC treatment (higher tannin content and colour intensity and lower malic acid concentration when compared with ST). Wines from the cover crop treatments were preferred by taste panelists. These results indicate that in humid climates cover crop treatments can be useful for reducing vine vegetative growth without compromising yield and berry quality.
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Date   2015-12-02
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