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LERGP hosting “Cover Cropping in Concord Vineyards” conference

July 27, 2016
By Luke Haggerty - Viticulture Extension Associate Lake Erie Regional Grape Program , Westfield Republican

PORTLAND- Cornell Cooperative Extension Chautauqua County's Lake Erie Regional Grape Program

It is inevitable that portions of our area landscape change. However, some Concord vineyards have existed here for over one hundred years. As a perennial crop, there are limited changes to the layout of our grape vineyards. An intense regiment of management practices calls for various farm equipment to be driven up and down the grape rows multiple times a year. Over time, this has led to a range of soil health problems. To combat these problems, area grape growers are turning to cover crops to improve the soil in their vineyards.

As the use in cover crops grows in popularity, many growers turn to the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program (LERGP) for recommendations on what to plant. Recognizing the need for research-based cover crop recommendations, LERGP applied for, and was awarded, a grant from the New York Farm Viability Institute. The funding has been used to measure how different cover crop mixes affect soil health and to sponsor a conference to educate interested grape growers.

Article Photos

Photo caption
Westfield grape grower Bob Betts holds an impressive tillage radish grown between his grape rows to reduce soil compaction and recycle soil nutrients.

Although the concept of cover crops in vineyards is not new, the idea of planting multiple species in a mix geared towards a targeted outcome is. To address the many questions fielded from growers, LERGP is hosting a "Cover Cropping in Concord Vineyards" conference on Thursday, September 1st.

Conference participants will have the opportunity to learn about cover crops in a classroom setting and have the opportunity to see test plots in the field located at the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory (CLEREL) in Portland, NY.

The September 1st conference starts at 9 AM and will run until 4 PM. The CLEREL meeting facilities, 6592 West Main Road, Portland, NY 14769, will be used for the classroom portion of the program. Registration is $10 to cover refreshments and lunch. To register for the conference, please contact Kate at (716) 792-2800 or visit the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program website at

The Lake Erie Regional Grape Program is a cooperative effort between Cornell and Penn State Universities; the participating Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations of Chautauqua, Erie, Niagara and Cattaraugus Counties in New York and Erie County in Pennsylvania; and participating industry partners National Grape Cooperative (Welch's), Constellation Brands and Walkers Fruit Basket. The LERGP extension team provides research-based educational programming for commercial grape growers throughout the year at venues across the Lake Erie grape belt. For more information on LERGP, call 792-2800 or visit our website at

The Lake Erie Regional Grape Program is one of many programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County (CCE-Chautauqua). CCE-Chautauqua is a community based educational organization, affiliated with Cornell University, Chautauqua County Government, the NYS SUNY system, and the federal government through the United States Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. For more information, call 664-9502 or visit our website at Cornell University Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.



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