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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics


Location: Crops Pathology and Genetics Research

2012 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
With NCAT, use research findings to create a publication to provide practical, grower-friendly information about best management practices to reduce GHG emissions on farms, and outline economic benefits, including using these practices to market their products as 'C-friendly' to consumers.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
NCAT and ARS will build on CSWA's Vineyard Managment Practices and Carbon Footprints' pamphlet by including new findings, life cycle analysis and case studies, and extend it via many venues.

3. Progress Report:
The agreement was established in support of objective 4 of the in-house project, which is to investigate the impacts of vineyard practices on soil microbial ecology. The goal of this project is to characterize soil variability through a landscape-targeted approach emphasizing major soil landscape relationships to stratify the two winegrowing regions into geographical management templates and link greenhouse gas emissions and vineyard nitrogen retention to these templates. The research goal is to identify how vineyard management practices affect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, carbon (C) stocks, and GHG footprints. The study will occur in North Coast and San Joaquin Valley winegrowing regions. Deliverables include 1) Best management practices' to increase nitrogen retention and balance production and weed control, 2) Calculation of C offsets potentially gained by reductions in nitrous oxide emissions and increases in soil C content, 3) A decision support system using a web-based GIS to enhance on-farm soil C stocks, 4) grower-friendly publication by partnering with National Center for Appropriate Technology. Significant progress has been made during FY2012. Intensive grower interviews to determine management practices across nearly 100 vineyards in Napa and Lodi have been conducted. More than a third of these sites have been sampled for soil characteristics to 1m depth, and soil samples were processed for numerous characteristics related to soil health and carbon storage. Cooperation between scientists at Applied Geosolutions, LLC has proceeded, and the interactive website where growers can evaluate impacts of their management practices and landscape attributes influence GHG emissions has been initiated. Further, we are cooperating with the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) to coordinate our efforts on the website and the life cycle analysis of grower practices as they impact both GHG emissions but other environmental factors like water quality. In order to maintain congruency with the parallel project funded by CDFA and directed by the Wine Institute and CSWA, the webtool development outlined in this project plan gains increased utility and accessibility to the users. Equipment necessary for measuring biweekly GHG emissions maintained across numerous vineyards to capture the effect of management and soil landscape attributes on soil nitrogen cycling. Several pulse events (e.g., cultivation and irrigation) were monitored to assess their effects on greenhouse gas emissions. A literature review was conducted in order to begin the outreach document with NCAT. Meetings were held every 2-4 weeks to discuss drafts that had been revised during the intermediary periods between meetings. Communication was conducted via email and phone calls among personnel at NCAT, Univeristy of California Davis, and USDA/ARS. The outreach publication was designed to explain the concept of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to growers, provide agricultural examples of its application, and describe and emphasize ongoing LCA work with California agriculture, especially winegrapes. Content from this outreach document was presented to the winegrape industry through Recent Advances in Viticulture and Enology, an outreach program sponsored by University of California Davis in March 2012, and through Napa Viticulture Tech. Group in May 2012. The project is monitored by maintaining a complete file of the agreement, reviewing the annual reports, and conducting meetings every 2-4 weeks with the cooperator during the course of the agreement. Numerous meetings among cooperators were held. These included three meetings with personnel from CSWA and the Wine Institute, Applied GeoSolutions, PE International and researchers from University of California Davis, to discuss the development of Life Cycle Assessment model for winegrape and wine production. Several conference calls were also held with these partners. Information among grant cooperators has been shared via written documents and correspondence, visual presentations, and planning meetings. Furthermore, findings from this project have been presented to the winegrape industry through Recent Advances in Viticulture and Enology, an outreach event sponsored by University of California Davis, and through the Napa Viticulture Tech. Group. Additional information will be shared with the Lodi Woodbridge Grower Group as well as through the outreach document developed by ARS and NCAT. These findings will also be contributed to the project managed by CSWA, in which the DeNitrification/DeComposition model is being refined for use in California winegrapes.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 05/22/2017
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