Spatial variability in grape yield and quality influenced by soil and crop nutrition characteristics
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Knowledge of spatial variability of soil fertility and plant nutrition is critical for planning and implementing site-specific vineyard management. To better understand the key drivers behind vineyard variability, yield mapping from 2002 to 2005 and 2007 (the monitor broke down in 2006) was used to
identify zones of different productive potential in a Pinot Noir field located in Raimat (Lleida, Spain). Simultaneously, the vineyard field was sampled in 2002, 2003 and 2007, applying three different schemes (depending on the number of target vines in different grape yield zones). The sampling carried out in 2002, which involved different soil, topographic and crop properties (mineral contents in petiole), made it possible to evaluate the influence of these parameters on the grape yield variability. The zones of lowest yield coincided with locations in which the nutritional status of the crop exhibited the lowest values, particularly with respect to petiole contents of calcium and manganese. Sampling systems adopted in 2003 and 2007 (grape quality and soil attributes) confirmed the inverse spatial correlation between grape yield and some grape quality parameters and, more importantly, showed that the percentage of soil carbonates had a great influence on grape quality probably due to the reduced availability of manganese in calcareous soils. Site-specific vineyard management could therefore be considered using two different strategies: variable-rate application of foliar fertilizers to increase the yield in areas with low production and also foliar or soil fertilizers to improve the quality specifications in some areas.