Cover Crops: For the control of vineyard pests

Vineyard pests come in many sizes and forms. However, if you try to eliminate any one of the pests, you can affect a larger ecosystem. Researchers at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre, in Summerland, British Columbia, are working closely with the wine industry to address pest management issues. And, surprisingly, they are increasing the biodiversity of the vineyards in order to manage pests.

View this video to learn more about this fascinating approach.

Help with downloadable formats

Video Transcript

[An image and a maple leaf appear on screen. This is the title graphic for the video.]

[Light, electronic music fades in.]

Text on screen: Cover Crops, For the control of vineyard pests

[The video opens with a shot of vineyards in Osoyoos, British Columbia.]

Narrator: Vineyard pests come in many sizes and forms. From mould, to insects...

[The shot changes to a closer view of the vineyards in Osoyoos, British Columbia.]

...birds and animals.

[The shot changes to show a vine that has some dead leaves, caused by winter damage.]

[The shot changes to show an extreme close up of a small bug crawling over a vine leaf.]

However, if you try to eliminate any one of the pests...

[The shot changes to show a pole at the end of a row of vines. There is a pink ribbon tied to the top of the pole. We see it blowing in the wind.]

...you can often affect a larger ecosystem.

[Light, electronic music continues.]

[The shot changes to show a wide shot of the valley in Oliver, British Columbia. The camera pans from left to right. We can see several large vineyards.]

Researchers at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre...

[A map of Canada fades in over the shot of Oliver, British Columbia. A dot and a line appear to indicate the location of Summerland, British Columbia.]

...in Summerland, British Columbia...

Text on screen: Summerland, British Columbia

...are working closely with the wine industry to address pest management issues.

[Light, electronic music continues.]
[The map of Canada fades out.]

They have come up with a creative solution...

[The shot changes to show a man smiling to camera. He is standing in a row of grape vines.]

...to invasive insects.

[The shot changes to show a longer shot of the man standing in a row of grape vines. He is with a research assistant and they are examining the leaves of the vine together.]

[Light, electronic music continues.]

It involves increasing the biodiversity of the vineyards by adding beneficial plants between the vine rows.

[The shot changes to show the man from earlier, still standing between vine rows, and looking to camera.]

Tom Lowery: The team that I'm leading...

Text on screen: Tom Lowery, Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

...is working on a number of novel ways to manage vineyard pests...

[The shot changes to show an extreme close up of climbing cutworms on a grape vine.]

...including management of climbing cutworm...

[The shot changes to show several moths inside a plastic enclosure.]

...and the new invasive yellow lesser underwing moth.

[Light, electronic music continues.]

[The shot changes back to show Tom Lowery standing between vine rows.]

We are currently evaluating the beneficial properties a number of native and non-native plants as cover crops.

[The shot changes to show a row of grape vines. In between the rows we can see small plants covering the ground.]

Cover crops are planted between the vine rows...

[A circle and a line appear on screen, indicating the cover crop. Words also appear on screen.]

Text on screen: Cover crop

...for a variety of reasons.

[The shot changes to show a research assistant walking down a row of vines and removing leaves as she goes.]

[Light, electronic music continues.]

In this case we are working on using these plants to help manage populations of grape vine pests.

[The shot changes to a close up of one of the leaves that the research assistant has removed from the vine. There are very small insects on the underside.]

Narrator: The research team has found that two winter annual mustards...

[The shot changes to show a close up of a leafy green plant. Text appears on screen.]

Text on screen: Shepard's Purse

...Shepard's Purse...

[The shot changes to show a different plant with yellow flowers and few green leaves. Text appears on screen.]

Text on screen: Spring Draba

...and Spring Draba, provide almost complete control...

[The shot changes to show an extreme close up of climbing cutworm on a grape vine.]

...of cutworm damage to grape buds.

[Light, electronic music continues.]

[The shot changes back to show the moths moving around inside a plastic enclosure.]

Cutworm larvae find these mustards very attractive. But they cannot survive solely on them. Increasing plant diversity...

[The shot changes to show a row of grape vines at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre.]

...leads to an increase in predatory and parasitic insect populations...

[The shot changes to show an extreme close up of a very small insect running over a leaf from a grape vine.]

...that naturally control cutworms and other pests.

[Light, electronic music continues.]

[The shot changes to that of a man standing in a row of grape vines in a commercial vineyard. He is looking to camera. Words appear on screen.]

Mike Watson: Vineyards are very complicated to manage...

Text on screen: Mike Watson, Chair of the Board of Directors, British Columbia Wine Grape Council

...and we're constantly looking for more tools that allow us to be more sustainable and allow us to use softer products which helps with maintaining a healthy ecosystem...

[The shot changes to show several people working to harvest a crop of grapes in a single vine row.]

...as well as maintaining productivity and long-term sustainability.

[Light, electronic music continues.]

[The shot changes to show two of the people involved in the harvest carrying bins full of ripe grapes out of the vineyard.]

By getting this research done we can look at finding better tools that make it easier to manage.

[The shot quickly fades to white. As it fades up from white it reveals Tom Lowery and his research assistant standing in their laboratory. They are both looking at a single piece of paper and it appears as though they are discussing the results on the paper.]

Narrator: They still have more work to do to better understand how these plants control cutworm populations and to determine if they will provide...

[The shot changes to show a close up of a row of grape vines involved in Tom Lowery's cover crop experiment. We can see a sign indicating that Indian rice grass is being used in this part of the trial.]

...the same level of control...

[The shot pans quickly to the right to show the Indian rice grass between the rows.]

...for the new invasive lesser underwing moth.

[Light, electronic music continues.]

[The shot changes to show a different view of Indian rice grass.]

So far, the results are promising.

Tom Lowery: By conducting our research in commercial vineyards...

[The shot changes to show a vineyard perched on the side of a calm lake. The shot suddenly zooms out to show the area around the vineyard.]

...we know that the results will work...

[A circle and a line appear on screen pointing at the vineyard. Words also appear on screen.]

Text on screen: Commercial vineyard

...under real world conditions and will be more rapidly taken up by industry.

[Light, electronic music continues.]

[The shot changes to show empty green wine bottles moving through a machine on their way to be filled with wine.]

Narrator: The challenges for growing grapes in Canada are always changing.

[The shot changes to show more empty green wine bottles moving through a machine on their way to be filled with wine.]

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researchers...

[The bottles are picked up by the machine and quickly filled with wine. We can see a close up of the full bottles as they exit the filling station.]

...in collaboration with the industry...

[A row of full wine bottles moves down a conveyor on the machine. As they travel, a hand appears and removes some of the bottles.]

...are helping to nip these challenges in the bud...

[The shot changes to show a man using a manual forklift to move a skid of full wine bottles in boxes.]

...before they become too costly and too difficult to manage.

[Light, electronic music continues.]

[The shot changes to show a close up of someone pouring red wine into a glass. The glass in on a table that appears to be set for a meal.]

For Canadian vinters, smart science...

[The shot changes to show four adults sitting around a dinner table. Each one is holding a wine glass containing red wine. They smile, laugh, and clink their glasses together.]

...is balanced and full-bodied.

[The shot fades to white.]

[Fade up from white.]

Text on screen: Modern. Innovative. Growing. Discover other agricultural innovations at www.agr.gc.ca.

[Light, electronic music fades out.]

Text on screen: Canada, © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (2014).

[Fade to black.]

Date modified: