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What's Hoppening: Musings from the Hopyard!

Downy mildew protection and early-season fertility

Posted: May 11th, 2015 by hoppenin

F18 Hop N Uptake

Hop N uptake over the season. Oregon State University, 1992. Link to the source article at end of post.

Are your hops already skyrocketing out of the ground? Ours are! While it might seem that there isn’t much to do until the hops are ready for training, it is important to be vigilant in fighting disease.

This week we plan to spray Champ WG copper-based fungicide on our yard as a preventative measure against downy mildew. The disease is now capable of releasing zoospores, which leave from infected tissue and spread to other shoots and plants. Since the plants are small, it is easy to cover the whole plant, reducing the amount of downy mildew spores that are spread, and making life much easier later in the season.

Many fungicides labeled for hops will have an early-season application recommendation. Check your label for that information.

While most nitrogen uptake will happen in June, July, and August, it is still important to supply some early N to your hops so that they can have fertility there when they need it. This week we will apply enough fertilizer to deliver 50lbs of nitrogen per acre. We recommend supplying 75lbs/acre of nitrogen to first-year hops over the course of the season and 150lbs/acre for all subsequent years.

For more detailed guidance on hop fertility, read this great paper from Oregon State on hop nutrient needs: OSU Hop Fertility

Spring Crowning

Posted: May 4th, 2015 by hoppenin

The hop season is upon us!

Hop downy mildew is currently the biggest pest of concern for Northeastern hop growers.  Downy mildew overwinters in the hop crown and primary inoculum will be released from the first shoots. Removal of the first flush of spring hop growth is called “scratching” or “crowning” depending on how far down a plant is cut. Shoot removal is used as an early season preventative measure against downy mildew and as a way of managing harvest time.  Hop plants have been budding out for a few weeks now in Vermont.

1st  year hop yards should not be crowned to allow for root establishment.

2nd year hop yards should be crowned if downy mildew was a problem last season.

3rd year hop yards should be crowned.

One of the following three methods can be used to kill back the top 1/2-1 inch of each plant.

1. Mechanically cutting (Figures 1 and 2).

2. Flaming. It has been DRY so please be careful not to burn down your hop yard.

3. Herbicide application. Make sure any pesticide used in your hop yard is labeled for use in your state and on hops.

The goal of crowning is to manage disease but also to make vegetative and reproductive growth consistent across the yard and from season to season.  In our 2014 crowning date study we found that there was no difference in hop quality or yield between plants cut back on April 14th and May 12th. Hop plants cut back by 5/9 will be able to reach the top of the trellis by June 21 when the plants enter their reproductive growth stage, assuming the plants have sun, water, and nutrients.

Buds before mechanical crowning.

Buds before mechanical crowning.


Plant after mechanical crowning.

In this video, Dr. Heather Darby describes what downy mildew is, and some warning signs to look for when evaluating your hop plants.

Good luck!





Getting Started with Hops

Posted: April 10th, 2015 by hoppenin

nfnAs part of the Vermont New Farmer Project’s ongoing webinar series, on 4/8/2015, Heather Darby provided an introductory presentation on how to get started with growing hops. Here presentation included establishment considerations, soil fertility, variety selection, pest management, and harvesting tips. The webinar recording is available on our Northwest Crops and Soils Program YouTube channel at: https://youtu.be/SrSoy5wry3w



Getting Started with Growing Hops Webinar (4/8/15)

Posted: March 27th, 2015 by hoppenin

nfnAs part of the Vermont New Farmer Project’s ongoing webinar series, UVM Extension’s Heather Darby will provide an introductory presentation on how to get started with growing hops. This will include setting up a trellis system, soil fertility, variety selection, pest management, harvesting, and post-harvest management.

The webinar is free, but pre-registration is required. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

To request a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Beth Holtzman at 802-223-2389 or 800-866-1632 by April 6 so we may assist you.

Online Proceedings from 2015 VT Hop Conference Now Available

Posted: March 25th, 2015 by hoppenin

hop-branchProceedings from the 6th Annual Vermont Hop Conference are now available online. The online proceedings include video recordings and PDFs of all conference presentations. They can be accessed for a one-time fee of $35 at eXtension’s Online campus at: http://campus.extension.org. If you have not yet been to this site, you will need to create an account. To do so, on the left bar under “Login,” click on “Create new account.” You will need to complete some basic information and confirm your account via email.  Once you have created an account, you may enroll in the proceedings by going to http://campus.extension.org/course/view.php?id=1131. You will enter your payment into eXtension’s PayPal system. Contact Deb Heleba with any questions about the proceedings.

Still Time to Order Rhizomes

Posted: February 11th, 2015 by hoppenin

Happy February!

We’ve had a few updates to our list of sources of folks selling rhizomes, including Anjali Farms & Lotus Moon Medicinals in South Londonderry and Sunnybrook Farm in Middlesex (certified organic Cascade, Centennial, Willamette, Kent Golding, Mt. Hood, Magnum, available April/May when the snow melts; $4/each not including shipping – min order $20). Also, the folks at US Hop Source have extended their order deadline to February 20 — you can contact them at 970-497-0691 or ushopsource@gmail.com.

Speaking of February 20, don’t forget that the 6th Vermont Hop Conference is just around the corner  — be sure to register ASAP at: www.uvm.edu/extension/hopsconference.

Keep calm and hop on!

Time to Order Hop Rhizomes

Posted: January 23rd, 2015 by hoppenin

It’s time to order Hop Rhizomes…if you haven’t already done so! Some nurseries have already sold out; others have order deadlines that are fast approaching. Below is a list of sources for hop rhizomes. If you are a rhizome producer and we missed you in our list – let us know!


Additional Sources (especially for Home Growers):

In addition, several sources are also starting to sell live potted plants. For example, Cornell Cooperative Extension has teamed up with the local greenhouse to offer potted hop plants:  http://www.northeasthopalliance.org/item/873582. Another NY greenhouse is also offering plants: http://www.northeasthopalliance.org/item/873619.

And remember, the best first defense to keeping diseases out of your hopyard is to use planting material certified free of HSVd and other viruses!

Mark Your Calendars: 6th Annual VT Hops Conference scheduled for Feb 20, 2015

Posted: January 8th, 2015 by hoppenin

hop-branchPlease mark your calendars for February 20, 2015 for our 6th Annual Vermont Hops Conference. It will be held from 9 am to 4 pm at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in South Burlington, Vermont.

You can check the conference website at: www.uvm.edu/extension/hopsconference… you can even register now!


Hops and Your Health

Posted: January 6th, 2015 by hoppenin

Happy New Year!

The folks at Michigan State University Extension are offering a webinar on Tuesday, January 13  at 1 pm ET called, “Your Lungs, Your Life: Respiratory Disease in Hop Growing and Processing.”

The one-hour webinar will include speakers Carolyn Whitaker and Dr. Dave Bonauto from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries Safety & Health Assessment & Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program.

In this webinar, you will learn how to keep your lungs healthy while growing and processing hops. It will cover what to watch for, when to see a doctor, hop jobs associated with respiratory disease, and what you can do to protect yourself and employees.

No registration is required and the program is free. Simply click the following link five minutes before the webinar is scheduled to begin https://connect.msu.edu/erinlizotte. Please sign in as a guest using your first name and state of residence. You will need a computer with internet access, a web browser (e.g. Explorer, Safari) and speakers. Don’t worry if you aren’t available on January 13th, the webinar recording will be made available at hops.msu.edu.

Holiday Closing of Testing Lab

Posted: December 19th, 2014 by hoppenin

holidayhopPlease note that the UVM Cereal Grain Testing Laboratory will be closed for the holidays beginning Monday, Dec 22, 2014 and reopening Monday, Jan 5, 2015. It would be best to hold on to your hop samples until after the 5th. Thanks.

Best wishes for happy holidays! And, keep calm and hop on…

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