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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Parlier, California » San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center » Water Management Research » Research » Research Project #443257

Research Project: Quantifying Dynamic Soil Properties for Soil health in the Central Valley of California

Location: Water Management Research

Project Number: 2034-13000-013-007-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2022
End Date: Sep 30, 2025

Evaluate soil health metrics in cover cropped vineyards for soil beneath vines and beneath cool-season cover crops planted in interrow alleys. Compare soil health metrics determined for California Central Valley soils to those derived from a cross-continental US study.

This project will evaluate soil health metrics for soils under cover crops and for vine row soils adjacent to cover crops in two vineyards in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV). One vineyard, located in Parlier, CA, is on a Hanford soil series, which is a widespread sandy loam and representative of soils typical for the Eastern half of the SJV. The second vineyard is in Five Points, CA on a Cerini soil series, which is also ubiquitous, a clay loam, and reflective of soils typical of the West side of the SJV. Both projects will include cover crop treatments, wherein vineyard alleys are seeded with annual cool-season cover crops, and control plots with bare soil. Treatment and control subplots will be established using a randomized block design with four replicates per treatment/control. We will collect soil samples over three years to monitor soil structural stability, general microbial activity, carbon food source, bioavailable nitrogen, microbial biomass, soil respiration, and soil organic carbon. All analyses will be conducted using standardized protocols provided by NRCS to best facilitate cross-site comparisons.