Several SARE projects have demonstrated the effectiveness of cover crops on different aspects of vineyard management including optimization of vine growth and performance, pest management, pollinator conservation, and soil health and microbiology, and reduction of soil erosion. The proposed project will build on SARE’s previous projects with the addition of regionally applicable information to establish and enhance habitat for pollinators and natural enemies of insect pests in vineyards and other agricultural sites. The work is located in the semi-arid southwest US, which has been underserved in this area of research despite the growth of the regions’ grape growing industry. Several native plant species that thrive in this region will be used as cover crops. This work accomplishes two of SARE’s program goals: 1) Increasing native habitat to encourage stewardship of natural resources and 2) provide sustainable methods to reduce the need for pesticides for weed and pest control. This project establishes demonstration sites throughout the state with farmer investment, supports workshops, and aids the creation of instructional/informational media and original videos of project impacts and progress.
Project objectives from proposal:
creation of original videos of project impact and progress. Due to the ongoing pandemic, most work emphasis will be on creating and developing education materials, and conducting several limited attendance workshops. Planted cover crops will remain in place when we are beyond past this current health crisis and growers and researchers can meet in person again.
Objective 1: Establishment of six demonstration plots on 8.5 acres at experimental and commercial vineyards. Experimental vineyards at NMSU Agricultural Science Centers include Los Lunas Agriculture Science Center, Valencia County, NM (1.25 ac), Farmington Agriculture Science Center, San Juan County, NM (2 ac) and Fabian Garcia Agriculture Science Center, Doña Ana County, NM (3 ac). Commercial vineyards include Pueblo of Santa Ana vineyard, Sandoval County, NM (30 ac, 1 acre dedicated), Lescombes vineyard, Grants County, NM (240 ac, 1 acre dedicated), Albuquerque Bio-Park Heritage Vineyard, Bernalillo County, NM (0.25 ac).
Objective 2: To increase knowledge and awareness of benefits of cover crops in vineyards in the Southwest
- Short videos on creating habitat, its benefits, and identification of pollinators and natural enemies of pests
- Video and webinar-based training course on “Cover Crops to Enhance Native Pollinators and Manage Insect Pests of Vineyards and Orchards”. The course will be incorporated into existing Pesticide Applicator Training for CEUs.
- Due to ongoing and evolving COVID-19 pandemic regulations and restrictions that impact the ability of face to face group gatherings for the foreseeable future, we will create online resources and conduct a workshop webinar series on cover crop role in vineyard management, pollinator conservation and integrated pest management in vineyards, as well as soil health conservation, and other related topics.