Soils & Nutrients
Did you know the plant microbiome mirrors the human gut? We are rebroadcasting one of our most listened-to episodes with Dr. Tara Sullivan. Tara discusses how the plant microbiome mirrors the human gut, the ways in which soil microorganisms can alter the bioavailability of micronutrients and metals for plants, and much more.
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.
Science and Management of Increasing Salinity in a Drier Climate links with resources.
Right now, there are more than 200 million dollars in grant funding coming online to help California farmers and ranchers preserve their land, better water efficiency, and improve soil health. Renata Brillinger, Executive Director at California Climate & Agriculture Network (CalCAN), and her team are working to incentivize sustainable practices like composting, cover crops, and solar pumps at farms to help combat climate change. They promote four grant programs that help farmers and ranchers have a positive impact on the planet and their bottom line.
David R. Montgomery defines regenerative agriculture as leaving the land better off and more fertile as a consequence of cultivation. In this research, he has defined three principles to build soil fertility; minimal disturbance, cover cropping, and growing a diversity of crops. David has studied the success of these principles around the world, from subsistence farmers to large commodity crops in North America. Healthy soils support more crop growth, have less erosion, and even look and smell healthier.
Plant SAP analysis gives farmers insight into how the plant can take up and mobilize nutrients. SAP Analysis is actually a pair of tests, comparing nutrients in young and old leaves to see what is being taken up today and how the nutrients are moved around. Learn more about SIP analysis and also some fascinating research about the relationship between silica, iron, and aluminum in grapevines.
Numerous vineyards have utilized sheep and goats in their vineyard for grazing but most only during the winter. Kelly Mulville was on a mission to design a vineyard for year-round grazing to restore the ecosystem with livestock. Using the sheep will eliminate all suckering and tipping, dramatically reduce fertilization, decrease irrigation use, and lower labor costs. Listen in as Kelley explains the trial process for tips on how to set up your own vineyard for year-round grazing.
A healthy soil has hundreds of different species of microbes while a depleted one may only have one dozen. A number of common viticulture practices are not conducive to a healthy soil biology so Dave Olson of Sustainable Growing Solutions is looking at how we can improve soil quality with microbes, ultimately improving plant quality. David discussed the best time for applications and the importance of having an objective before trialing inoculants.
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.
Vineyard development begins with the soil. Steve Vierra, Director of Vineyard Operation at Derby Wine Estates and Certified Professional Soil Scientist explains how he develops a vineyard that is easy to farm around natural resources and the goals of the business.
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.
Using sheep to graze vineyards has many benefits including lowering the carbon footprint, fewer tractor passes, and reduced herbicide use. Kelsey Brewer, Ph.D. Candidate at the University of California at Davis has been researching how these living lawnmowers impact nutrient and energy flows in the eco system.
This presentation from Dr. Douglas Beck, Science Officer, Monterey Pacific Inc is about Biochar: Soil Amendment for Improved Vine Performance and Long-term Carbon Sequestration
What, bury charcoal in the vineyard? Biochar is a specialized form of charcoal made from waste woody biomass at high temperature in the absence of oxygen. Doug Beck, Science Officer at Monterey Pacific in Monterey California, shares how biochar and compost amendments improve nutrient efficiency, improve water holding capacity, and positively impact yields.
The What, When and How Much for Applying Key Nutrients. The goal of fertilization for any crop is to ensure the optimum levels of nutrients are available to the plant at key stages in the growth cycle. Balancing these factors is an art as well as a science. The first step is identifying what nutrients to apply. The second step is deciding how much fertilizer to apply. The third step is choosing the best time to make the application.
David R. Montgomery defines regenerative agriculture as leaving the land better off and more fertile as a consequence of cultivation. In this research, he has defined three principals to build soil fertility; minimal disturbance, cover cropping, and growing a diversity of crops. David has studied the success of these principals in agricultural systems around the world, from subsistence farmers to large commodity crops in North America.
50-million-year-old reserves of humified organic matter are a substance called lignite. It is commonly known as brown or soft coal, a substance usually equated with energy production. Researchers at the Technical University of Dresden have found that this very old, carbon rich plant material has the same building blocks as humus – the organic matter reserves found in soil. Virginia Corless, Chief Growth Officer at Novihum Technologies, explains how reacting lignite with nitrogen has created a new soil amendment to improve nutrient retention, water storage, and the vitality of the microbiome.
Scott Steinmaus, PhD - Horticulture and Crop Science Department, California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo
A template for creating your own plan to better manage the natural resources in and around your vineyard.
Dr. Tarah Sullivan is Assistant Professor of Soil Microbiology at Washington State University. In this interview, Tara discusses how the plant microbiome mirrors the human gut, the ways in which soil microorganisms can alter the bioavailability of micronutrients and metals for plants, why plants in alkaline soils can be deficient in iron when the soil is not, if cover crops can improve soil microbial communities, and what is next for her research.
Cristina Lazcano, PhD - Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences, California Polytechnic State University
Connie Wong - Graduate Student, California Polytechnic State University. Effects of compost application on soil carbon and greenhouse gas emissions in wine grape production.
Jenna J. Merrilees - Graduate Student in Agriculture; Soil Science. Cover crop management tilling and grazing trial.
Dr. Stephanie Bolton, Sustainable Winegrowing Director, Lodi Winegrape Commission, talks about sustainable farming in the Lodi winegrowing region.
Jeff Newton President & CEO, Costal Vineyard Care Associates discusses his career and the history and future of the Santa Ynez American Viticultural Area.
Fritz Westover, viticulturist with Westover Vineyard Advising and Virtual Viticulture Academy describes growing conditions and challenges in multiple states in the Southeastern United States.
Factors contributing to nitrous oxide emissions from vineyards.
Raymond Baltar, Director, Sonoma Biochar Initiative explains how to execute a conservation burn and make biochar to reduce smoke and capture carbon.
Results from four harvest-years showed a higher productivity, up to 66% with no signiﬁcant differenceswere observed in grape quality parameters. The observed increase in productivity was inversely correlated with rainfall in the vegetative period. These ﬁndings support the feasibility of a biochar-based strategy as an effective adaptation measure to reduce the impact of water stress periods with no negative effects on grape quality.
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.
What role do grapevines play in the production and capture of greenhouse gasses?
Production methods for making high-quality compost and sequestering greenhouse gasses in the soil from two professors at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California.
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.
An Excel sheet for calculation how much compost to apply to deliver the desired amount of N in year one.
Tips for wineries and vineyards that compost primarily grape pomace.
An overview of the science involved in commercial composting processes.
A description of the role soil health plays in capturing Carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it in the soil.
An excellent overview of what is soil health health and ways to promote it.
A producer of compost explains how good quality composts made. He covers production methods, lab analysis, and quality control.
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.
Recommendations for control of stinkwort.
Description of the weed stinkwort (Dittrichia graveolens), its rapid spread through California, and its life cycle.
Two articles on the spread, biology, and control of stinkwort (Dittrichia graveolens).
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.
A list of vendors compared on 10 variables.
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.
Some resources we hope you will find useful on the topic of soil health including things you can do yourself with only simple tools. Resources include a podcast, slides, a worksheet, and more.
Describes and explains the “Haney Tests,” an increasingly popular way of quantifying soil health.
A simple method for judging the health of your soils with only simple tools and no lab analysis.
Peter Work - Owner, Winemaker, and Vineyard Manager of Ampelos Cellars - recounts how becoming a certified organic vineyard led to becoming Demeter® biodynamic certified and eventually Sip Certified®.
This podcast is an excerpt from the talk Dr. Charlotte Decock delivered at the 2017 Sustainable Ag Expo on understanding soil health - what soil health is, how to increase it, and how to measure it.
Slides that accompany the Understanding Soil Health podcast.
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.
Chandra Krintz, Ph.D., Professor of Computer Science, University of California Santa Barbara explains how scientists and engineers are working on a computer system that will help farmers make better decisions using data analytics.
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.
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.
The period after harvest but before leaf fall is one of the best times of the season for the uptake of Nitrogen and Potassium.
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.