- Fruits: grapes
- Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, mentoring, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, workshop
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, feasibility study
- Pest Management: cultivation, weed management
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
- Soil Management: soil moisture
Vineyard floor management relies on herbicides, especially glyphosate. This practice,
once deemed sustainable and safe, is now jeopardized by glyphosate-resistant weeds and has
come under public scrutiny. Mechanical under-vine cultivators are an option available to grape
growers; many types of equipment are commercially available. However, its adoption lags
behind the more familiar herbicide use. Under-vine cultivators’ performance, costs and applications have not been
well-researched. Limited information on reliable providers further hinders adoption of undervine
cultivators. This project proposes:
- to conduct on-farm trials to evaluate different undervine
cultivators types alone or in combinations as compared to herbicide application;
- with grower-collaborator participation, to compare the economics of under-vine cultivation to
herbicide application and record operational information to estimate reliability, operation
capacity, and scheduling of cultivation operation during the growing season;
- to compile a list of all equipment commercially available and a list of vendors located in the Western
Region, and to document growers’ perceptions and experiences with under-vine cultivators. This
will allow us to generate specific information about operational costs, performance, the window
of operation, applications, and limitations.
- Evaluate the weed control performance of three under-vine cultivators (hoe blade,
rotary tiller, and rotary brush) used alone or in combination. Monitor undesirable trends in soil structure
using field penetrometer and soil-water content using a portable soil moisture sensor.
- Compare under-vine cultivation equipment to herbicide application and record
operational information to estimate reliability, operation capacity, and scheduling of
cultivation operation during the growing season. Grower-collaborators will be actively
engaged in this objective, and their input will become the basis for the emphases of
outreach events and materials.
- Compile a list of cultivators available in the market with estimated costs, operational
capacity, tractor requirement, applications and limitations and develop extension
materials and presentations to promote adoption of this technology.