Protect Your Grapes: How Minimizing Dust Can Impact Yield

Dust is a real problem both for the environment at large and for people breathing it in. The impact that dust can have on air-quality is self-apparent. One of the harder things to quantify or conceptualize, however, is how dust can impact crop yield.

Your vineyard can’t use words to tell you it’s suffering from dust exposure, but it can show you with its results.

Fields of any nature that are being exposed to too much dust suffer the consequences. Smaller yields, more weeds, lower-quality crops.

Less crops means lower profits, less product, and long-term negative effects on the health of a business. Today we examine the impact dust has on your crops, and how the problem can be effectively controlled.

Impacts of Dust on Vineyards

So, why does dust have a negative impact on crop yields? There are actually several factors that are subject to  be increased or lessened by the extent of the dust problem. For example, in cases of extreme dust exposure, there can be an impact on photosynthesis.

As the mites settle on the plants and leaves their ability to absorb rays from the sun lessens, and they become deprived of essential nutrients.

Granted, it is difficult to quantify the precise result of dust on crops as it pertains to this matter. Photosynthesis, in general, is difficult to analyze, and the challenge is further increased because of all of the potential variables at work.

Regardless though, a correlation between dust exposure and lower levels of photosynthesis absorption has been positively identified.

Dust mites also just have a negative impact on the health of the plants overall. In addition to preventing photosynthesis absorption, it can also affect the plant’s ability to breath which subsequently limits growth potential.

Unfortunately, though, while your crops suffer, the weeds thrive. Weed mitigation strategies are hampered by excessive dust, thus further exacerbating the problem of delayed or stunted growth. In many ways, excessive dust is the perfect storm of negative factors when it comes to agriculture.

To make things even worse, dust penetration in farming actually seems to be on the rise, particularly in the case of locations that are in close proximity to construction sites, mines, dirt roads, etc.

However, all hope is not lost. Dust mitigation strategies can reverse the problem, and give your plants the extra help they need to thrive.

Control Dust Mitigation Techniques

There are a number of different ways to reduce the level of dust that interacts with your crops. In order to maximize the efficiency of your strategy, you will probably need to use several or all of these methods.

Reduce Traffic

One of the best ways to solve a dust problem is to reduce traffic on field adjacent roads. As cars speed down highways lots of dust is kicked up from the asphalt creating clouds that subsequently settle on your crops.

Naturally, the more cars on the road, the worse the problem gets. Unfortunately, traffic reduction isn’t always possible, though it is effective when implemented, and does provide an immediate solution to the problem.

Unpaved areas, in particular, should be treated with special caution. On construction sites or dirt roads, allow for traffic only as needed and eliminate it altogether whenever possible.

Reduce Speed

When untreated or exposed surfaces must be traveled on, it can help to keep the speeds as low as possible. For example, decreasing speed by just ten miles per hour from forty-five to thirty-five MPH can reduce dust transplanting by up to 22% which will have a positive impact both on agricultural and public health.

Moisture-Increasing Palliatives

Palliatives are solutions that sharply reduce the extent to which dust is disturbed on a road.

There are lots of different options available that will depend in part on the nature and condition of the road. Magnesium Chloride is a popular all-purpose option. Lignin blend and Lignosulfonate are also popular and effective organic methods.

Particle-Binding Palliatives

There are also particle binding palliatives that keep dust tightly sealed together to keep it from clouding. There are both organic and synthetic options for this as well.

The option you ultimately choose will depend in part on the conditions of the road. For example, some options are better at handling rain or extreme heat/cold than others. Similarly, others are safe to use near water supplies. In general, organic options have a low impact on the environment, but sometimes synthetic solutions are required.

In any case, thoughtful use of palliatives is an effective means of keeping dust down in sensitive areas that see a lot of traffic.

Reduce Wind

Wind can also consistently kick up dust and create problems for air quality. While you can’t control mother nature, you can reduce its impact to a certain extent. Wind walls are a good mitigation strategy that will reduce exposure and prevent an uptick in dust.

Using several of these strategies in cooperation with each other, you should be able to reduce dust exposure to your crops, and create a safer environment for your community at large.


Controlling dust requires a targeted effort. Unfortunately, there is no method that will completely keep this natural force at bay. However, the steps that we have illustrated above will sharply reduce the negative impacts of dust.

Smaller crop yields, more weeds, less grapes are all prominent consequences of dust, but with due diligence you can keep these factors at bay.

You don’t want to handle your dust mitigation services all by yourself. True efficiency requires quality palliatives and the assistance of well-informed professionals .

That is where we come into the mix. Contact us today for a free quote so we can start helping you tackle your dust problem.  

Norcal Ag Service