The farmland where the project is to be demonstrated is a 16.304- acre section of an organic raisin farm located in Fresno, CA. Raisin grapes have been cultivated on this parcel for the past eight years, and before that the land was cropped with Asian vegetables. Dwayne A Cardoza Ranches Incorporated uses a conservation cover on this section of their 350-acre farming operation. A permanent conservation cover mix of 40% bell beans, 30% peas, 20% vetch and 10% barley are established between the rows of grapevines, keeping down weeds while adding moisture and nutrients, In some years, nutrients are managed using only the conservation cover as an input, and in other years organic inputs may include seaweed, magnesium sulfate, zinc sulfate, and boron based on nutritional analysis of plant sap.
Steven reduces tillage through the use of mulch resulting in increased soil health including improved carbon storage, stability of the soil biotic community, reduced compaction, and increased organic matter. Also, the addition of mulch combined with existing conservation cover use would conserve soil moisture and potentially reduce the duration and/or frequency of irrigation events.
More about the grower Steven Cardoza: