Environmentally Sensitive Pest Control

As the growing season begins, the first plants in the vineyards to show growth are usually not the vines, but what grows between them. Cover crops have become more and more important to us here on Rijk's, and should be included when considering the entire ecosystem in sustainable production of quality grapes.

Use of Cover crops:
As the growing season begins, the first plants in the vineyards to show growth are usually not the vines, but what grows between them. Cover crops have become more and more important to us here on Rijk's, and should be included when considering the entire ecosystem in sustainable production of quality grapes. Vineyard floor management can have a large impact on the microclimate and both beneficial and unwanted life in a vineyard, especially soil health. Protection of the soil surface is one of the biggest benefits of cover crops. Cover crops provide benefits including less soil erosion and compaction, more water infiltration, fewer pests and increased beneficial invertebrates, less chemicals, fewer weeds, lower vine vigour and greater soil organic matter.

We have sown triticale and white mustard in alternate rows in our vineyards this year.

White mustard is a useful cover crop in vineyards as a winter cover. In addition to producing a large amount of high protein green manure, white mustard has been shown to suppress nematodes, wireworms and other soil borne organisms as well as some weed seeds. When it is plowed down, it can also reduce the nitrogen needs for the next crop due to its high nitrogen content.

Nematode suppression occurs in two ways:
  • White mustard releases a chemical similar to cyanide that acts as a fumigant in the soil.
  • Also, nematode larvae penetrate the mustard root, but are unable to complete their life cycle, thus drastically reducing the number of nematodes in the soil the following year.
Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye) is also sown in every second row, to keep weeds at bay and act as a natural mulch. In general, they are sown each fall and disked in the spring as a "green manure" cover crop.

Use of Microbial Soil Inoculants:
We use an organic product from Microbial Solutions called Biostart® to correct the lack of soil microbes in our soil. It is applied 5 times a year through our irrigation system, during critical growth phases and also after harvest, before the vines rest again.

Biostart is a soil inoculant that increases microbial activity and organic carbon activity which automatically:
  • promotes the growth of all other beneficial soil microbes
  • kick-starts the growth of the soil food chain, thereby supporting all life forms
  • decreases many common root diseases and soil pests such as nematodes
  • increases uptake of nutrients and fertilisers in the soil leading to considerable input cost reductions the
  • the microbial activity reduces compaction increasing aerobic depths and activity, which will
- increase root growth and depth
- increase water holding and drainage capacities
- chelate locked-up elements making them available to the plant
- reduce further element lock-up of new fertiliser applications
- reduce the loss of Nitrogen out of the soil
- make working the soils easier - increase yields
Use of Straw Bales
We buy in 10 000 straw bales per year and place them in the rows. This lasts about 3 years and increases microbial activity, cools the roots down and retain moisture in the soil.

Rijks
+27.232301622