Soil quality in Beaujolais vineyard. Importance of pedology and cultural practices

A pedological study was carried out from 2009 to 2017 in Beaujolais vineyard, to improve physical and chemical knowledge of soils. It was completed in 2016 and 2017 by the current study, dealing with microbial aspects, in order to build a reference frame for improved advice in soil management. Microbial biomass was measured on representative plots of the six most common soil types identified in Beaujolais and, for each soil type, on plots with different levels of the main impacting parameters: total organic carbon, pH, cation exchange capacity, extractable copper. A total of 59 soil samples were collected. Confirming the results of various trials carried out in Beaujolais over the past 20 years, the results of the present study showed that the soils were still alive, but exhibited a large variability of biological parameters, which appeared dependant on both pedological and anthropic factors. Therefore, a good interpretation of biological parameters and advice for vine growers must rely on a pedologically-based referential with differentiated main driving factors. For example, the control of pH is of primary importance in granitic soils and in no way organic matter addition can improve soil quality if pH is too low. Conversely, in calcareous soils, biological parameters are more directly affected by direct or indirect (cover crops for example) inputs of organic matter. The use of biological parameters, such as microbial biomass, is of great potential value to improve advice on agro-viticultural practices (soil management, fertilization, liming, etc.), basis of a sustainable wine production on fragile soils.

Authors: Jean-Yves Cahurel1, Bertrand Chatelet1,2, Rachida Nouaïm3, Rémi Chaussod3, Isabelle Letessier4, Nicolas Besset5 and Pascal Mathieu6

1Institut Français de la Vigne et du Vin, Villefranche-sur-Saône, France 
2Sicarex Beaujolais, Villefranche-sur-Saône, France
3SEMSE, Vievigne, France
4Sigales, Saint Martin d’Uriage, France
5Chambre d’Agriculture du Rhône, Villefranche-sur-Saône, France
6CESAR, Ceyzériat, France

Email: jean-yves.cahurel@vignevin.com

Keywords: cultural practices, biological parameters, pedology, soil

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