Seats are filling up quickly for the 2013 UVM Extension Winter Hops Conference! Don’t delay, this event usually sells out! February 22nd will be a day jam-packed with hoppy information, you don’t want to miss it. To register, please follow the link: http://www.uvm.edu/extension/hopsconference
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County in collaboration with Zerrillo’s Greenhouse is pleased to offer 12 different varieties of hops plants grown from first generation cuttings of virus-indexed stock purchased from Washington State’s Clean Plant Program.
Varieties available include Ultra, Fuggle, Alpharoma, Teamaker, Cascade, Newport, Liberty, Willamette, and Perle. These plants will be sold in 4 1/2 inch pots and can be purchased by the tray. Quantity discounts are available. Sterling, Centennial, and Saaz will also be available in smaller quantities. The minimum order is 30 plants per single variety. Please note that quantities are limited! Orders are being filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Northeast Hop Alliance and the wonderful folks at Foothill Hops are putting together a cooperative purchase for hop rhizomes, coir, and W-clips for the 2013 season. This offer is available to all NeHA members in good standing. If you haven’t paid your dues for 2013, or if you would like to become a member, please go to the NeHA website. Being a member of NeHA not only gives you access to opportunities such as the cooperative purchases, but also makes you eligible for a discount to NeHA and UVM Extension hop workshops and conferences.
Orders and payments are due by January 18, with a minimum of 50% down on rhizomes. Payments in full are required for coir and clips.
While NeHA and Foothill Hops cannot guarantee the viability of rootstock, they do everything in their power to make your hops growing experience a satisfactory one. The rhizome supplier from last year who did not stand by the poor quality Cascade rhizomes will not be used again. The suppliers from whom the bulk order will be purchased have been used in the past and have always provided quality rhizomes and courteous service.
After the conference there is a Post Conference Happy Hour for an extra fee. The Fall Conference also happens to coincide with a Home Brew Reviewhosted by The Colgate Inn in Hamilton, NY. Overall, it should be a good show.
Chris Callahan was recently hired as the Agricultural Engineer for UVM Extension and is operating out of the Rutland, VT office. He is a long time Crops and Soils fav, and has worked on numerous projects with us, including the hops harvester, oast, and various oilseed projects. He and Lucy Carrasco, our Assistant Webmaster (and all around superhero) came up with a nifty Hops Moisture Calculator that we thought you might find useful. (You can even use it on your smartphone!) You can also download it in Excel.
In the Northeast, hop harvest generally begins in mid-August and continues through mid-September. Harvest date is primarily dependent on the hop variety. However weather can delay or hasten when a harvest will occur. Another factor that can influence harvest date is pest issues, including heavy spider mite and downy mildew infestations. In the major hop growing regions, harvest is generally targeted when cones reach approximately 23% dry matter.
Determining hop dry matter in a Koster Moisture Tester at left, and with a food dehydrator at right.
To determine your hops target dry matter, randomly sample 5 to 10 sidearms of the same variety from throughout the hopyard. Samples should be taken from near the top of the trellis, approximately two feet below the trellis wire. The sample should reflect the state of your yard, and should be taken when there isn’t excess moisture in the hopyard, i.e. after the morning dew has dried, when it isn’t raining, etc. Pick the cones off of the sidearm into a bucket, and mix thoroughly before selecting a subsample of 100 to 150 cones.
Once you have your subsample you can begin the determination of dry matter. Weigh an empty container in grams. Weigh the freshly picked hops in the container, and record both weights. Dry the hops down to 0% moisture. This can be done one of several ways:
1.) Overnight in a food dehydrator at 140 – 150°F
2.) In a Koster Moisture Tester (commonly used to test forage moisture)
3.) In a microwave or oven, being sure to remove the sample every minute or less to prevent scorching.
Using a food dehydrator will allow the cones to dry to 0% moisture overnight. However, the Koster tester and microwave methods require constant monitoring as they will dry the cones relatively quickly. Once the sample has reached a stable weight, the hops are at 0% moisture. Weigh the dry hops and record the weight in grams. To calculate the percent dry matter, use the following equation:
Harvesting too early can reduce the yield of your hopyard and can also have an effect on next year’s yield. This is especially true for new hopyards, early maturing varieties, or varieties with low vigor, as it disrupts the carbohydrate partitioning into the root system. Harvesting too early will also disrupt the flavor constituents of your hops as the alpha acids might not have reached peak levels. However, harvesting too late can also reduce brewing quality and aroma. Later harvested hops are at risk of accelerated oxidation in storage through the loss of volatile aroma compounds. Later harvested hops usually suffer from a shortened storageability, as do cones that have been damaged by diseases and/or pests. Be aware that cones that have been damaged by spider mites and other pests are prone to over-drying.
Having a good idea of the pest and predator insect populations in your hopyard will aid you in pest control decision-making. Scouting is an essential aspect of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and will help you identify pertinent pest and pest predators. The UVM Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Team has put together some resources to help you locate and identify pests and predators in your hopyard. For a detailed look at many hop pests and predators found in the Northeast, please click here.
Please click below to watch a YouTube video on how to scout a small-scale hopyard, and for highlights on what you might find therein.