Evaluation of soil management practices for organic production of grapes with special emphasis on its viability for small to medium size rural enterprises

Project Number
WW 18-26

Project title
Evaluation of soil management practices for organic production of grapes with special emphasis on its viability for small to medium size rural enterprises

Project leader
Fourie, J C

Team members
Fourie, J C

Project description
Experience in managing an organic vineyard was obtained during the past season. This will be used to move towards a minimum external input pest and disease control system, especially to decrease the amount of copper used.

The phosphate status of the Plaisir de Merle soil was corrected and, with the optimum potassium status, focus in the coming season should be on the nitrogen and micro-element nutrition of the vines. Although no deficiencies were shown by the leaf analyses, micro-element deficiency symptoms were found in the organically managed block on Plaisir de Merle. The nitrogen nutrition status of the organically fertilised (only compost) plots was lower than the chemically fertilised plots and those where soil conditioners were used in combination with compost. Soil microbial activity, and the increase of soil organic material, will receive priority in order to remove differences in the nitrogen nutrition status between the treatments. Data from the past season showed that the so-called ‘initial decrease in production’ during the first season of conversion to organic cultivation did not occur.

The weed population in the experimental plots was very low during the past season. Because rye grass is an aggressive grower in spring, it had to be controlled on the vine rows on Nietvoorbij during October. However, a dry matter production of 3 ton.ha-1 in the working row was sufficient to suppress the rye grass stand effectively. It is important to determine whether the different cultivation practices will lead to a shift in the weed spectrum since an increase in problem weeds and/or perennial species affects the sustainability of the different practices.

In a dryland situation like Plaisir de Merle, the micro-faunal activity was higher in the organically managed soils due to longer periods of favourable moisture and temperature conditions. In a pot trial it was found that EM does not promote the mineralisation rate of nitrogen in organic material. It actually caused nitrogen immobilisation where high C:N materials were used, especially when the bokashi (rich in fungi) was used as inoculant.

The organic Sauvignon blanc-99 Richter block on Plaisir de Merle will be registered for organic certification and a registration audit will be arranged for this winter.

Presentation(s)
Raath, P J. 2001. Organic farming. Farmers’ Day, Clanwilliam.

Raath, P J. 2001. Organic farming research. Working Group, Cape Town.

Raath, P J. 2001. Organic production. Farmers’ Day, Stellenbosch.

Raath, P J. 2001. Compost and organic production. Farmers’ Day, Stellenbosch.
Raath, P J. 2001. Organic farming research. Farmers’ Day, Stellenbosch.

Raath, P J. 2001. Principles and requirements for organic cultivation of wine grapes in the Breede River Valley. Short Course, Commercial farmers, Goudini.

Fourie, J C. 2002. Organic weed control: approach and practical considerations. ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij Short Course, 28-29 May, Stellenbosch.

Fourie, J C. 2005. Organic production: the cultivation and economic realities. South African Society for Enology and Viticulture (SASEV) Table Grape Short Course,, Rawsonville, South Africa, 10 Augus.t

Fourie, J C. 2005. Weed control and cover crop performance in an organic vineyard. Meeting with farm labourers of Plaisir de Merle, Simondium, South Africa, 7 October.

Fourie, J C. 2005. The importance of compost in organic production. Meeting with farm labourers of Plaisir de Merle, Simondium, Paarl, South Africa, 7 October.

Fourie, J C. 2005. The use of an organic pest and disease programme. Meeting with farm labourers of Plaisir de Merle, Simondium, South Africa, 7 October.

Fourie, J C. 2005. Weed control and cover crop performance in an organic vineyard. Meeting with farm labourers of Papkuilsfontein. 14 October, Darling, South Africa.

Fourie, J C. 2005. The importance of compost in organic production. Meeting with farm labourers of Papkuilsfontein farm. 14 October, Darling, South Africa.

Fourie, J C. 2005. The use of an organic pest and disease programme. Meeting with farm labourers of Papkuilsfontein farm. 14 October, Darling, South Africa.

Article
Raath, P J. 2001. Principles of organic cultivation of wine grapes, WineLand, Mnth Nov (p. 106-107)

Raath, P J. 2001. Requirements for organic cultivation of wine grapes, WineLand, Mnth Nov (p. 109-111)

Raath, P J. 2001. Guidelines for monitoring soil fertility, plant nutrient status and compost quality in organic wine grape production systems, WineLand, Mnth Dec (p. 90-93)

Raath, P J. 2001. Preparation for certification of organic wine grape production, WineLand, Mnth Dec (p. 93-94)

Raath, P J, Fourie, J C. 2006. Guidelines for making compost on a wine grape enterprise, WineLand, Mnth Jan (197) (p. 96-97)

Fourie, J C, Raath, P J. 2008. Effect of organic and integrated soil cultivation practices on the weed population in a Sauvignon blanc vineyard situated in the Drakenstein area of the Paarl wine district, WineLand, Mnth Apr (224) (p. 59-63)

Fourie, J C, Raath, P J. 2009. Effect of organic and integrated soil cultivation practices on soil nutrient status and performance of a Sauvignon blanc vineyard situated in the Paarl wine district. Part I. Soil nutrient status, WineLand, Mnth Jun (238) (p. 81-83)

Fourie, J C, Raath, P J. 2009. Effect of organic and integrated soil cultivation practices on soil nutrient status and performance of a Sauvignon blanc vineyard situated in the Paarl wine district. Part II. Grapevine performance, WineLand, Mnth Jul (239) (p. 77-81)

FinalReport.pdf

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