The conventional system of weed control in vineyards is made with soil tillage in the interrow, or applying herbicides, both with the recognized inconvenient such as lost of organic matter, soil structure degradation, CO2 emissions, lost of soil and nutrients and biodiversity and runoff water quality decrease.
The maintenance of a sward in the interrow, with spontaneous herbaceous vegetation or a seeded mixture of legume and grasses, which is used by some producers, has advantages related to the previous system, reducing or eliminating the above mentioned hazards, and is in line with the actual concerns about gas emissions and climatic global change.
Considering that Portugal vineyard area is about 180.000 ha, it is expected that a careful management of this system can lead to a high reduction on gas emissions, an increase on carbon sequestration and other environmental benefits that were reported.
However, there is a lack of information about the capacity of the new management system to carbon sequestration and effects on grapevine physiology and production and quality of the final product, the wine.
So, it is proposed to establish an experimental device on a Douro vineyard property, with three systems of soil management practices: (i) conventional tillage in the interrow; (ii) maintenance of sward cover with spontaneous herbaceous vegetation; (iii) maintenance of sward cover with an improved seeded mixture of legume and grasses.
The project has as proponent a wine company in Douro region, “Quinta do Vallado”, an Association of wine Douro producers (ADVID) and includes seven teams of UTAD, for studying and measure the different parameters related to the objectives of the project and one team of the “Escola Agrária de Bragança”, which will be responsible by the soil erosion study.