Cover crop termination strategies

3 year study in southern France into the effect of various termination strategies (early vs budburst termination period; mowing vs tillage vs roller-crimper) of winter cover crops on soil ecosystem functions, vine water and nutrient status, grapevine vigour and yield.

  • maintaining service crop till budburst increases biomass two to three-fold compared with early termination
  • maintaining service crop till budburst, and terminating with roller-crimper increases soil microbial activity and mulch biomass
  • gentle tillage was best for terminating service crop, stopping transpiration, increasing soil water stocks, grapevine water status, soil inorganic nitrogen to that required annually by vines, pruning weights, number of bunches
  • roller-crimper and mowing termination resulted in sufficient yields for PDO regions with limitation