WE-Search Wednesday: Crazy Hippie Edition Part 3

Look, I loved my time in California. I love my time in Texas. So here’s some “Crazy Hippie” research that started in Cali but I’m seasoning with Texas pragmatism. Like Hippies, this article meanders and is dense and crunchy. Like Texans, this article keeps it light and cuts through the noise. Peace and Love, Y’all.

Organic Matter/Regenerative Agriculture/Soil Remediation

Call it what you like but mind the buzzword soup. It’s important and it definitely has a role in the vineyard but it can be over-hyped, and it is definitely not a cure-all. Mr. Texan Pragmatist would say, “the poison is in the dosage, Buster”. Take compost for example. It can be helpful by boosting organic matter %, improving soil tilth, increasing vine health, etc. But too much can be a problem because compost is pretty loaded with salt, it may have nutrients you don’t need (or too much of a nutrient), and there are ~2 million pounds/acre of soil for every 6″ slice of land. Which means you would need ~15 tons/ac of compost if you wanted to increase organic matter from 0.5% to 1.0% in the top 18″ of soil. That’s 13,607 kilos for those on the metric system. But a couple tons/ac every 5 years or so can be a net win and I’m a champion of that. Just know it won’t be the “game-changer” it’s often advertised to be. Yet, there’s benefits so here’s a study on compost use in the vineyard. Here’s one on using cover crop systems and vine performance. And here’s a good article on regenerative agriculture in the vineyard. I’m not sold on the “regenerative ag” framework as a scalable and commercially feasible means of operation, presently. But it’s entirely possible it will be one day. Today though, you can make your vineyard carbon neutral. Yep. But it’s hard and not a fit for everyone. Just like, today, you can make your “home” carbon neutral by moving into a “tent”, instead. That’s also hard and… not for everyone. Present reality is that it costs more to go backward in time than it costs to go forward in time. So I wonder, “Is X worth spending Y dollars, so we can go from Point B back to Point A”? Maybe. Or… maybe creating an awesome Point C is a better use of resources.

Just give peace a chance, man. Otherwise, you’re all hat and no cattle.

Stay tuned for Part 4, pardner!