Minimum Tillage
Wine Grape Growing in South Africa

© Francois Viljoen Wineland
Minimum tillage results in a larger development of soil microbes in the undisturbed sub-layers of the soil than in a vineyard where vineyard rows have been cleaned. Here, cover crops are planted to reduce moisture loss and increase organic matter in the soil.
Over the years, there has been a movement to minimum tillage in vineyards. Minimum tillage does not disturb the soil with large farm implements. This may imply that the full area of cover crops is sprayed and flattened just before bud burst. Minimum tillage can also mean that no mechanical cultivation of the soil is done underneath and between the vines, or that only a bush cutter is used to control the weeds. Chemical weed control can be used to replace the mechanical control of weeds or cover crops.

A study has found that minimum tillage results in a larger development of soil microbes in the undisturbed sub-layers of the soil than in a vineyard where vineyard rows have been cleaned. It has also been found that the use of herbicides has formed a hard dense surface crust and has a detrimental effect on soil fungi.By Vinpro