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The ins and outs of under-vine cover cropping
Vineyard under-vine floor management is a controversial topic. Whether via herbicide or tillage, the common approach for many years has been to maintain bare earth under-vine to minimise competition with grapevines. Our research into under-vine cover cropping is showing that with the right choice of species, under-vine cover crops can have a neutral or positive effect on yields while saving the effort and costs associated with herbicide application. Our work is also exploring the impacts of cover crops on water usage and vine temperatures, with intriguing results. New insights have also been gained into the impacts of vineyard floor management on the soil microbiome.

Jul 16, 2020 11:30 AM in Adelaide

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Dr Thomas Lines
Postdoctoral research fellow @University of Adelaide
Dr Thomas Lines is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Adelaide and has a background in microbiology, plant physiology and chemical engineering. His recent work, attempting to understand the complex interactions between under-vine plant species and grape production has brought him back to South Australia and into the vineyard. His goal is to conduct sound and effective research that improves agricultural process efficiency while making the industry more sustainable into the future.
Professor Tim Cavagnaro
Professor of Soil Ecology @The University of Adelaide
Professor Tim Cavagnaro is Professor of Soil Ecology in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide. He is also Deputy Head of School (Learning and Teaching). Tim's research is guided by the question: How do we manage soil ecological processes to achieve agricultural and environmental sustainability in a time of significant environmental change? Tim's group develops and uses cutting-edge techniques from across disciplines, and spans scales from the molecular to landscape. Tim has worked in viticultural systems, but also in systems as diverse as high-value organic horticulture in California, subsistence farming in Sub-Saharan Africa, and restored and cropped systems in Australia.
Chris Penfold
Researcher @University of Adelaide
Chris Penfold has been a researcher with the University of Adelaide for nearly 30 years, initially in broadacre agronomy and for the last 18 years in viticulture. His research has focused on the enhancement of system sustainability through investigating non-chemical weed control, under-vine management and cover cropping systems. His most recent project, funded by Wine Australia, investigated the use of suitable plant species to improve soil health and vineyard profitability while reducing the need for herbicides in the under-vine zone of vineyards.