EFFECT OF GRASS COVER CROPS ON WATER AVAILABILITY AND YIELD IN NON-IRRIGATED VINEYARDS
Celerino Quezada1*, Marco Sandoval1, Carlos Ovalle2, Víctor Pérez1
The use of cover crops in non-irrigated (rainfed) vineyards is a sustainable alternative in shallow hillside and low water retention soils. A study was conducted in the Mediterranean zone of central-southern Chile in order to evaluate the effect of different types of inter-row cover crops on soil water content and yield in a non-irrigated vineyard Vitis vinifera L. ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’. The experiment was carried out using a randomized complete block design with five treatments and four replicates. The treatments consisted of different mixtures of grass and legume species and a control treatment (without vegetation cover). Soil volumetric water content, soil water availability, grape yield and vine vigor were evaluated. The results obtained showed that the cover crops evaluated did not affect soil water availability, grape yield or vine vigor. The mixture with the best performance was tall fescue, subterranean clover and balansa clover.
Key words: vine, Vitis vinifera, inter-row, grass mixtures, water availability, vine vigor.
1 Universidad de Concepción, Facultad de Agronomía, Casilla 537, Chillán, Chile.
2 Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, CRI Quilamapu, Casilla 426, Chillán, Chile.
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