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Effect of permanent ground cover on agronomic properties and soil fertility in an organic peach orchard

Parveaud, Claude-Eric; Gomez, Christelle; Bussi, Claude and Capowiez, Yvan (2010) Effect of permanent ground cover on agronomic properties and soil fertility in an organic peach orchard. Poster at: 28th International Horticultural Congress, Lisbonne, Portugal, 22-27 August 2010.

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Summary

In conventional orchards, weeds on the raw are mainly controlled with chemical herbicides because of
their efficiency, their low cost and ease of use. The most common method in organic orchard to
eliminate weeds on the raw consists of tillage operations. However, some drawbacks of these
mechanical methods have been demonstrated: (1) the energetic cost (non-renewable energy) is high,
(2) this method is time-consuming, (3) tillage interferes with the development of superficial roots and
can hurt the trunk, (4) the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil can be disturb and (5)
erosion and runoff potentially increase. Cover crops are interesting alternatives to manage ground
cover but the effect on the agronomic properties and the soil fertility of these methods should be
assessed. This study is included in the national program “Casdar SolAB” supported by the French Ministry of
Agriculture. The effect of a White Clover crop versus tillage practice on the tree raw was assessed in
an irrigated organic Peach orchard. White Clover was sowed in 2004. Soil parameters (water and
nutrients availability, soil porosity, root density, earthworms density, soil profile) and agronomic
parameters (yield, fruit quality, pests and diseases damages) were recorded since 2004. A 50%
decrease of the organic fertilizer supply in the White Clover treatment has not affected yield and fruit
quality from 2005 to 2009. It suggests this cover crop is well adapted to our pedoclimatic conditions
without exerting a significant competitive effect. Root density is higher in the superficial layers of the
soil in the White Clover treatment. Simplified Beerkan test used to assess soil porosity has also shown
that soil porosity is higher in this treatment. No vole damage was observed in the plot.


EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Poster
Keywords:White clover, Fabaceae, tillage, weed control, simplified Beerkan test,earthworm ecological groups, spatial root distribution, nitrogen dynamic
Subjects: Soil > Soil quality > Soil biology
Crop husbandry > Soil tillage
Crop husbandry > Weed management
Research affiliation: France > GRAB - Groupe de Recherche en Agriculture biologique
France > INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
Related Links:http://www.grab.fr/category/nos-recherches/fertilite-et-entretien-du-sol
Deposited By: Parveaud, Dr Claude-Eric
ID Code:17223
Deposited On:11 Oct 2010 13:18
Last Modified:11 Oct 2010 13:18
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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