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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Cover-Crop-Enhanced Water Infiltration of a Slowly Permeable Fine Sandy Loam

Published source details

Gulick S.H., Grimes D.W., Goldhamer D.A. & Munk D.S. (1994) Cover-Crop-Enhanced Water Infiltration of a Slowly Permeable Fine Sandy Loam. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 58, 1539-1546


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Crop production: Plant or maintain ground cover in orchards or vineyards Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1989–1990 in an irrigated vineyard in the San Joaquin Valley, California, USA, found lower crop yields in plots with cover crops, compared to bare soils, between the vine rows. Crop yield: Lower grape yields were found in plots with cover crops, compared to bare soils, in two of four comparisons (in 1990: 16–20 vs 23 Mg/ha). Methods: There were three plots (one vine row and two interrows, 183 m length) for each of two cover crops (Bromus mollis bromegrass as a winter cover crop, treated with herbicide and mulched in summer, or followed by resident vegetation as a summer cover crop), and there were three control plots (bare soil, maintained with herbicide throughout the year). The bromegrass was seeded in January and December 1989 (and reseeded in March 1989 because of poor establishment). All plots were furrow irrigated until the water had advanced to the end of the furrow (five times in March–September 1989–1990), and thus more water was given to plots with faster infiltration (plots with cover crops). Grapes were harvested in September 1989–1990.

Water: Plant or maintain ground cover in orchards or vineyards Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1989–1990 in an irrigated vineyard in the San Joaquin Valley, California, USA, found that grape vines used similar amounts of water in plots with or without cover crops between the vine rows, but more water was used in total, and more water filtered into the soil, in plots with cover crops between the vine rows. Water use: Grape vines used similar amounts of water in plots with or without cover crops between the vine rows (soil water depletion within the rows: 427–531 mm, 0–180 cm depth), but more water was used in total in plots with cover crops, in one of two comparisons (plots with winter and summer cover crops: 511 vs 351 mm water/year, 0–180 cm depth). Water availability: More water filtered into the soil in plots with cover crops (cumulative infiltration after eight hours of opportunity time/irrigation event: 106–182 vs 69–74 mm/year). Methods: There were three plots (one vine row and two interrows, 183 m length) for each of two cover crops (Bromus mollis bromegrass as a winter cover crop, treated with herbicide and mulched in summer, or followed by resident vegetation as a summer cover crop), and there were three control plots (bare soil, maintained with herbicide throughout the year). The bromegrass was seeded in January and December 1989 (and reseeded in March 1989 because of poor establishment). All plots were furrow irrigated until the water had advanced to the end of the furrow (five times in March–September 1989–1990), and thus more water was given to plots with faster infiltration (plots with cover crops). Soil water was measured with a hydroprobe (23–180 cm depth, two samples/row and two samples/interrow in each plot, before irrigation and 3–5 days after irrigation). Infiltration was calculated from water advance times along the furrow.