Cover crops not only bring life to a bare and dormant vineyard block during the winter but assists with the management of the vineyards. Cover crops are a hot and buzzing topic now as farmers move towards farming more sustainably and organically.
Typical cover crops can be divided into three main groups:
– Brassicas include mustards, kale, oilseed radish, rapeseed, turnup and winter canola
– Grains include wheat, barley, oats and rye
– Legumes include lupins, clover, vetches and serradella
These cover crops protect soil health, prevent soil erosion and suppress weeds. They also provide nutrition, improve water holding capacity, improve soil structure and is nitrogen fixing.
Cover crops are essential in order to produce quality grapes.
At Ken Forrester Wines we plant a mix of Saia oats and Triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye) in one row and Barley in the next row for nutritional diversity. We also planted Faba beans in 3 blocks this year.