Context: Worldwide, organic farming is being promoted as one of the main alternatives to intensive conventional farming. However, the benefits of organic agriculture are still controversial and need to be tested across wide environmental gradients. Objective: Here, we carried out an observational study to test how agronomic practices, pest management, environmental impact and yield of conventional and organic vineyards changed along wide climatic and landscape gradients across Italy. Methods: We used a block design with 38 pairs of conventional and organic vineyards across Italy. Results and conclusions: Most agronomic practices did not differ between conventional and organic vineyards. By contrast, landscape composition and climate were strong predictors of management in both systems. First, increasing semi-natural areas around the vineyards reduced pesticide pressure and related environmental impacts, but was also associated with lower yield. Second, irrespective of the farming system, a warm and dry climate was associated with reduced fungicide pressure. Conventional farming had a yield gain of 40% in cold and wet climate compared to organic but the yield gap disappeared in the warmest regions. Significance: In both farming systems, we observed a large variability in management practices that was mainly explained by climate and landscape composition. This large variability should be considered when evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of different farming systems under contrasting environmental contexts.

Climate and landscape composition explain agronomic practices, pesticide use and grape yield in vineyards across Italy

Suma, Pompeo;Garzia, Giovanna Tropea;
2024-01-01

Abstract

Context: Worldwide, organic farming is being promoted as one of the main alternatives to intensive conventional farming. However, the benefits of organic agriculture are still controversial and need to be tested across wide environmental gradients. Objective: Here, we carried out an observational study to test how agronomic practices, pest management, environmental impact and yield of conventional and organic vineyards changed along wide climatic and landscape gradients across Italy. Methods: We used a block design with 38 pairs of conventional and organic vineyards across Italy. Results and conclusions: Most agronomic practices did not differ between conventional and organic vineyards. By contrast, landscape composition and climate were strong predictors of management in both systems. First, increasing semi-natural areas around the vineyards reduced pesticide pressure and related environmental impacts, but was also associated with lower yield. Second, irrespective of the farming system, a warm and dry climate was associated with reduced fungicide pressure. Conventional farming had a yield gain of 40% in cold and wet climate compared to organic but the yield gap disappeared in the warmest regions. Significance: In both farming systems, we observed a large variability in management practices that was mainly explained by climate and landscape composition. This large variability should be considered when evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of different farming systems under contrasting environmental contexts.
2024
Climate change; Environmental impact quotient; Grape yield; Organic agriculture; Pesticide; Semi-natural area; Sustainable agriculture; Temperature
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/588974
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