Cover Crops and Water Use in Vineyards (SARE)
A decline in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin has increased awareness of water conservation practices in vineyards. This project investigated whether and to what degree the depletion of soil moisture over the winter by certain vineyard cover crop practices might affect the quantity of groundwater pumped for irrigation to replace these losses. While cover crops have many benefits, the cost of those cover crops in terms of water use and associated pumping costs to replace soil moisture that may be depleted due to the cover crop is not well understood on the Central Coast. This study consisted of two experiments conducted over two seasons. One experiment investigated whether the timing and method of terminating a grass cover crop affected the depletion of soil moisture over the winter. The second experiment evaluated the effects of cover crop selection (species) on the depletion of soil moisture over the winter. As far as can be measured by this set of experiments with this design, neither the timing and method of terminating a grass cover crop nor the selection of cover crop species differed consistently in terms of soil moisture depletion compared to clean cultivation or fallow/no-till controls.
Cover Crops and Water Use: Educational Resources
- Fact Sheet: Vineyard Cover Crop Species Experiment
- Fact Sheet: Vineyard Cover Crop Termination Experiment
- Online Educational Module
- Project Overview and Discussion
- Presentation Poster
Special Thanks to the Following:
Funding Agency - Western Sustainable agriculture Research and Education
- Niner Wine Estates
- Treasury Wine Estates
- Derby Wine Estates
- Opolo Vineyards
- J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines
Learn More about Sustainable Vineyard Practices
SIP Certified Chapter 14: Year-End Water and Nitrogen Use Reports - You can use this workbook to complete your calculations - Chapter 14 Year-End Reports are due by December 15 of the certification year for all acres in the program - Calculations include water and nitrogen use from December 1 through November 30 of the certification year - Calculations are on a per-acre basis.
Beginning in 2023 all growers in region 3, are required to keep records to either report the Total Nitrogen Applied (TNA) or the Irrigation and Nutrient Management Plan summary report (INMP) by March 1st, 2024.
Cal Poly ITRC, together with various irrigation industry leaders and the Irrigation Dealers Association of California, plus with assistance from the California Energy Commission and Pacific Gas & Electric Co., developed the Irrigation Consumer Bill of Rights (ICBR). This supplements various bills written for specific irrigation needs.
What is the most important factor in vineyard irrigation scheduling? Organization. Having defined company goals and someone in charge of holding the team accountable. Tom Shapland, Co-founder and CEO of Tule Technologies and Lucas Pope, Director of Operations at Coastal Vineyard Services share their top challenges and strategies to apply the right amount of water at the right time. Incorporating tools like soil moisture sensors, plant-based monitoring, weather data, and soil types helps farmers know how much water is reserved in the soil so they can irrigate efficiently without applying more than the soil can handle.
Greg Pennyroyal of Wilson Creek Winery and Vineyards was looking for soil moisture systems and found that the products available in the market were all expensive, proprietary systems that did not meet the needs of small block Temecula vineyards. He partnered with Reinier van der Lee, CEO of Vinduino, to reverse engineer the technology to develop a product that would give the same results for a fraction of the cost.
Wondering how the new AG Order 4.0 requirements impact your vineyard? Sara Lopez with Central Coast Water Quality Preservation, Inc reviews the requirements, new Third-Party programs, and how these all relate to grape growers. Watch the recording for free.
There are numerous tools and technologies to improve irrigation efficiency but by looking at grower demographics, we can better predict which growers will implement best management practices. Nicholas Babin of California Polytechnic State University, conducted a two-year study to assess Paso Robles California AVA grape growers’ thoughts around climate change adaptation, irrigation efficiency, practice adoption, and SGMA.
If you wish to remain a member of Preservation, Inc. this year, please pay your invoice on time, no later than January 20th, 2022. Preservation, Inc. is required by the Water Boards to submit a list of paying and non-paying operations shortly after the 1/20/22 deadline.
NEW IN 2022: Preservation, Inc. will be performing the “Pre-Trend Irrigation Well Monitoring” that is required by Ag Order 4.0, on behalf of their members between March 1st and May 31st of 2022.
How can values, beliefs, and attitudes around irrigation improve water efficiency? That is exactly what a recent California Department of Water Resources (DWR) grant project aimed to discover. Grant recipient, Vineyard Team, worked with 59 growers over three years to conduct irrigation-related behavior interviews, Distribution Uniformity evaluations, and determine if continued interaction (nudges) with the grower would increase the adoption of irrigation best management practices in vineyards.
Deficit irrigation is used in winegrape production to keep berries small and enhance the flavor of wines, particularly with reds. Joan Davenport, Emerta Professor of Soil Sciences at Washington State University says to get an accurate measure of soil moisture, you need to focus monitoring where roots are.
In an era of declining resources, US-based vineyard consultant Kelly Mulville writes of his experience to develop viticulture methods that eliminate the need for mechanical or hand cultivation, mowing, tillage and suckering while simultaneously improving soil health sequestering carbon), increasing biodiversity and reducing irrigation needs.
Central Coast Regional Water Board adopts General Waste Discharge Requirements for Discharges from Irrigated Lands | April 16, 2021. At this point, the new order is in full effect, although simplified fact sheets are not available.
There is no doubt that water is a precious resource, particularly in drought prone regions like California. There are a bevy of technological devices available to utilize, from soil moisture probes to pressure bombs, but these tools only provide data on one specific area. Irriwatch founder and CEO Wim Bastiaanssen is aggregating data from 10 satellites to provide daily moisture measurements down to the pixel, allowing growers to optimize irrigation water applications in a world of dynamic weather, soil and crop processes.
While grape production does not require extensive water use and the majority of vineyards in the Pacific North West are drip irrigated, drought conditions in recent years have led growers to seek more efficiencies to reduce water use. Pete Jacoby, Professor of Crops and Soil Sciences at Washington State University is partnering with commercial growers to test a different sub-surface irrigation system - vertically placed PVC pipe.
We urge growers to submit individual comments on this draft. This draft is significantly different than prior Ag Orders and will require significant additional documentation and reporting for vineyards (both SIP Certified and non-SIP Certified).
Central Coast Water Board staff has developed a Draft Agricultural Order 4.0 to replace the current Agricultural Order 3.0 that expires on January 31, 2021. Please join Water Board staff at one of three stakeholder workshops to learn more about the Agricultural Order.
Spring 2020 Update: Agricultural Water BMP Adoption Project
Vineyard Team is a non-profit outreach and education organization based in Atascadero, California. The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) awarded a grant to Vineyard Team in 2017 to study grower adoption of irrigation best management practices in vineyards. Over three years 57 growers were recruited into the project.
Due to COVID-19, the comment period for the Ag Order 4.0 has been extended to June 20, 2020. Outreach meetings will be announced as they are scheduled.
The Draft Ag Order 4.0 has been released. Comments are due by APRIL 6. This Draft marks a significant change from prior Ag Orders and will affect vineyards - it is very important for growers to submit written comments.
Handy guide for pre, during and after season.
Mantenimiento del sistema de irrigacion. Previo, durante y despues de la estacion.
Lauren Noland-Hajik, Attorney and Lobbyist at Kahn, Soares & Conway gives an update on new policies that affect the wine industry including the Water Resiliency Plan and how it affects Sustainable Groundwater Management Act; regulating power shutoffs to prevent wildfires; anticipated regulations on pesticides; and impending labor law changes.
A template for creating your own plan to better manage the natural resources in and around your vineyard.
Dr. Michelle Moyer of Washington State discusses recent research on integrated pest management for grapevine powdery mildew, how short term weather patterns impacts farming decisions, why clean plants may have made red blotch virus more detectable, controlling wine quality with water stress and “Farming by Excel” – how fewer people working in the field has increased growers reliance on data and technology.
Gregory V. Jones, Director of the Evenstad Center for Wine Education, at Linfield College in Oregon discusses climate structure and suitability for viticulture, how climate variability and change influence grapevine growth, wine production and quality, why we plant only a few hundred of the of the more than 24,000 varieties, how warm climate winegrowing regions have hedged against climate risk by growing multiple varieties, factors beyond fossil fuels that affect climate change, and our biggest challenges ahead.
Jim Anshutz, Partner, AgH2O talks about irrigation system maintenance, technology, and efficiency.
Mark Greenspan, Ph.D., President and Viticulturist, Advanced Viticulture, Inc. shares his insights on irrigation scheduling, technology in the vineyard, and more.
Diurnal changes in berry size pre- and post-veraison.
A study of how water flows into to and out of grape berries pre- and post-veraison.
Sometimes a series of short irrigations are better than one long irrigation.
Kris Beal, M.S., Executive Director of Vineyard Team, recounts some of the history of the organization, it’s current activities and what the future holds in store.
Ag Order 4.0 is open for comment. It is IMPORTANT for growers to submit written comments to the staff and board for consideration in the next phase of the Order by January 22, 2019.
Calculating the amount of water and Nitrogen applied to a vineyard are important for tracking inputs and improving efficiency. Required for SIP Certified vineyards and a helpful tool for any farmer, this workbook includes how to interpret soil and water analysis reports and how to calculate total water applied from irrigation, frost protection, and rainfall plus total nitrogen applied from fertilizer, compost, and water.
Jean-Pierre Wolff, Owner & Vintner of Wolff Vineyards, talks about how restoring the creeks around his vineyard created steelhead trout habitat and prevented losing his land to erosion.
Sarah Lopez, Executive Director of Central Coast Water Quality Preservation, Inc., gets into the details of checking water quality to comply with regulations through cooperative monitoring.
In winegrowing regions with insufficient rainfall, the importance of a well-functioning irrigation system cannot be overstated. Here are some of the most common problems found with drip irrigation systems in vineyards and some practical solutions.
This meeting brought together experts, boots-in-the-field irrigators, and vineyard managers to share their knowledge and experience with drip irrigation system maintenance and repair.
Ashley Poupart explores why sustain practices are important to the wine and winegrape industries followed by an overview and comparison of the major sustainability certifications available to vineyards.
Dr. Kaan Kurtural, Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist with UC Cooperative Extension describes the benefits of mechanizing viticultural operations. Q&A for this session is here: https://youtu.be/JUF1FaEUudE
Bart Haycraft, Vineyard Manager for Jackson Family Wines Los Alamos, answers questions about the vineyard operations he has mechanized on his ranches including weed control, canopy management and efficient harvesting. The full session is found here: https://youtu.be/ItFu_50H0og
Dr. Kaan Kurtural, Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist with UC Cooperative Extension answers questions about the benefits of mechanizing viticultural operations. The main talk is found here: https://youtu.be/V6gQ-KJ_XFM
The Lodi Winegrape Commission and Vineyard Team invited vendors with different technologies to a workshop for show-and-tell.
Glossary of terms and some useful information about aerial imaging.
First in a two-part series on using aerial maps generated from images captured by a UAV for viticultural decision-making.
Second in a two-part series on using aerial maps generated from images captured by a UAV for viticultural decision-making.
Check out some favorite episodes Here are ten episodes of the Sustainable Winegrowing podcast you don’t want to miss.
The five water quality issues addressed in Ag Order 4.0 in RWQCB Region three.
Irrigation is just one of many things on a grower’s mind on any given day. To help growers conserve irrigation water in vineyards, Vineyard Team has launched a project to investigate how growers make decisions to adopt agricultural water BMPs.
Contacts, definitions, and processes for disposing of pesticides (hazardous waste in San Luis Obispo County.
Dr. Justine Vanden Heuvel, Associate Professor of Viticulture at Cornell University, explains how growing cover crops in the vine row can devigorate vines and protect water quality.
Calculating how much fertilizer to apply or was applied is easy using these simple steps.
Use this helpful spreadsheet to calculate how much liquid fertilizer to apply or was applied.
Paul Crout, Vineyard Manager and Viticulturist at Vineyard Professional Services explains why keeping records of water and Nitrogen use in the vineyard is important and how to use that information to best manage your crop.
Stacie Clary, Communications Manager for Western SARE discusses the program and some of its many successes from funding grower-lead projects to find sustainable solutions to agricultural problems.
A fact sheet about cover crops and tillage.
A list of questions you should discuss with your irrigation dealer before purchasing an irrigation system. This will help you make better decisions about system design options. You will also understand the obligations of both yourself and the dealer when designing your irrigation system.
The crop looks good and canopy growth is strong.
Sustainability rests on the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Doug Beck, Science Advisor for Monterey Pacific Inc., talks about the different types of technology used in the vineyard.
These slides explain the terminology used in lab reports regarding soil and water salinity issues and include equations for calculating leach requirements and leaching fractions.
To make sure your drip irrigation system is going to operate as your expect it to, follow these steps before the irrigation season arrives.
Do cover crops deplete soil moisture enough during the winter and spring months to increase the amount of irrigation water required during the growing season? These two experiments suggest that the species of cover crop and when and how it is terminated do not have this effect.