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Vineyard mulch findings released

Vineyard mulch findings released

HortResearch has released its findings from four years of research on vineyard mulching in Marlborough. The results of its experiments are presented in a booklet, "Mulch for Sustainable Production."

Scientists, Rob Agnew and Dion Mundy, concluded that the key benefits from using mulch in vineyards were: soil moisture retention; nutrient release; weed suppression and increases in yeast available nitrogen in grape juice. Other positive effects were increases in soil organic matter, soil temperature buffering and soil fungi population.

Rob Agnew said, "The viticulture industry is proactive in looking for sustainable solutions and other industries in the area were keen to reuse by-products that would otherwise go into landfills. The aim of the mulch trials was to retain moisture, reduce spray usage, minimise waste and improve soil and plant heath."

The trials began at four Marlborough vineyard sites in early 1999 using grafted Sauvignon Blanc vines. The major difference between the four sites was soil type.

The booklet, which was produced for the Marlborough District Council, is being launched tomorrow (17 December) at Montana's Brancott Winery in Blenheim.

A copy of the booklet can be viewed on from Wednesday.

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