Selection of Grass and Broadleaf Crops as Catch Crops where Winery Wastewater is Used for Irrigation: A Review

  • J.C. Fourie
  • C.L. Howell South Africa
  • N. Masekwana


Winery wastewater contains high levels of elements such as sodium, phosphorus, potassium, as well as
chemical oxygen demand, sodium adsorption ratio and pH. This may raise concerns regarding the pollution
of the surrounding environment. Environmentally friendly methods such as recycling, i.e. treatment and
re-use, where treated or partially treated and diluted wastewater is used for irrigation of agricultural crops,
are essential. Irrigation with winery wastewater, which is rich in nutrients, can be beneficial to overall soil
fertility as an alternative to conventional fertilizers. However, long-term applications of wastewater may
have a negative effect on soil physicochemical properties. A selection of crops with nutrient interception
abilities, preferably for salts, may be ideal for the removal of excess elements from the soil whilst reducing
leaching and excess run off. The use of perennial grasses, annual winter growing grains and winter growing
broadleaf nitrogen-fixing annuals as winter cover crops in the South African wine industry has been
extensively documented but their use as summer catch crops intercepting elements applied via wastewater
irrigation has not yet been well researched.

Author Biographies

J.C. Fourie

ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, Stellenbosch

N. Masekwana

ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, Stellenbosch