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See benefits of cover crops in orchards, vineyards

Searchable database of growers experienced in growing cover crops launched.

Pamela Kan-Rice

January 18, 2023

2 Min Read
UC SAREP
A mix of yellow mustard, black mustard and canola are grown between rows in an orchard.UC SAREP

Growers are invited to tour orchards and vineyards and hear from other growers about their experiences with cover crops. 

UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, UC Cooperative Extension, the Napa Resource Conservation District, and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers have created a searchable database of orchard and vineyard growers experienced in growing cover crops that will help other growers bring the benefits of the practice to their operations. 

“The tours are part of a project for which we recently unveiled new tools for orchard and vineyard growers to learn about cover cropping from experienced growers,” said Sonja Brodt, associate director of the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. 

The database describes cover cropping strategies, details of field practices, benefits and challenges experienced by cover crop growers in orchards and vineyards in the southern Sacramento Valley (including the Capay Valley) and the North Coast viticulture region. The cover crop grower database is available at https://sarep.ucdavis.edu/covercropsdb.

Feb. 8, 1-5 p.m., Capay Valley tour: 

The tour will visit three organic farms in the Capay Valley that are integrating cover crops and grazing in their orchard and vineyard systems. Topics of discussion will include:

  • Strategies for integrating cover crops into orchards and vineyards

  • Impacts of cover cropping and grazing on soil health

  • Funding and information resources for growing cover crops

Speakers will include:

  • Rory Crowley, Director of Habitat Programs, Project Apis m.

  • Amélie Gaudin, Associate Professor, Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis, Endowed Chair in Agroecology

  • Hope Zabronsky, Climate-Smart Agriculture Program lead, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources

To register for the Feb. 8 tour, visit https://sarep.ucdavis.edu/events/grazing-cover-crops-orchards-and-vineyards-capay-valley-tour.

March 8, 1-4 p.m., Arbuckle area tour: 

The tour will visit two conventional farms in the Arbuckle area that are integrating cover crops into their orchard and vineyard systems. 

Topics of discussion will include:

  • Strategies for integrating cover crops into orchards and vineyards

  • Impacts of cover cropping on soil and water balance

  • Frost risk protection and prevention

  • Funding resources for growing cover crops

Speakers will include:

  • Rory Crowley, Director of Habitat Programs, Project Apis m.

  • Kosana Suvocarev, UC Cooperative Extension Specialist in Biometeorology, UC Davis Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources

  • Hope Zabronsky, Climate-Smart Agriculture Program lead, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources

To register for the March 8 tour, visit https://sarep.ucdavis.edu/events/cover-cropping-conventional-orchards-and-vineyards-arbuckle-area-tour .

[Pamela Kan-Rice is assistant director of news and information outreach at UCANR.]

Source: University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

About the Author(s)

Pamela Kan-Rice

Assistant director, news and information outreach, UCANR, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources

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