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What's Hoppening: Musings from the Hopyard!

Hello Hop Harvest!

Posted: August 14th, 2014 by hoppenin

hop harvest 8.12

We tested ~ 30g of our early varieties on August 8th and harvested our first Saaz plot of the season on August 12th at the research hopyard in Alburgh, VT. Several of our early and mid-season varieties are ready to harvest.

Please continue to practice meticulous hop processing so that our local brewers have excellent hops this year!



A few harvesting tips to ensure high quality:

  1. Take pre-harvest moisture samples (see our Hop Harvest Readiness Factsheet)
  2. Cut down only what you can pick that same day
  3. Keep your cut hops out of the sun
  4. Dry your hops to 8% moisture
  5. Seal your dried hops or pellets and freeze

Check out our easy to use online harvest moisture calculator or download your own copy.

Hoppy Harvesting!


Having trouble with Japanese Beetles?

Posted: July 28th, 2014 by hoppenin

Take a deep breath; help is on the way!

Figure 1. Japanese beetles with winsome fly eggs on their thorax (Scott A. Lewins)

While scouting a hopyard in central Vermont, UVM Extension Entomologist Scott Lewins photographed these Japanese beetles last week with some deadly companions on their backs (Figure 1). The white dots on the thorax of the Japanese beetle in the picture are eggs of a parasitic fly brought here years ago to help control this destructive invasive species.

The winsome fly, Istocheta aldrichi  (Figure 2), is a parasitic fly native to Japan, where it is one of the most effective parasites of Japanese beetles. Female flies lay their eggs on the thorax of newly-emerged Japanese beetles. After the eggs hatch, the parasitic maggots burrow into their Japanese beetle host, killing them in five to six days. The beetle rapidly dies as the maggots eat it from the inside out. This often means that the targeted beetles never reproduce. The fly completes its lifecycle within the body of the dead beetle, emerging the following year.

Figure 2. The adult winsome fly (http://bugguide.net/node/view/346199)

The USDA first introduced the winsome fly in the United States in 1922 to try to combat Japanese beetles. Their introduction has been slow to take hold throughout the US, but has become well-established in New England since their introduction. The winsome fly and Japanese beetles are not as well-synchronized within the US as they are in their native Japan. Unfortunately, the fly emerges earlier than the beetle so we don’t realize the full benefit of Japanese beetle control. Despite this asynchrony, parasitization rates of more than 20% have been observed.

In order to encourage winsome flies in the landscape, there are ways to manipulate the habitat to benefit them. Adult flies feed on the nectar of umbelliferous flowers like yarrow, hemlock, Queen Anne’s lace and parsnip. Providing food sources for adult flies will attract them to the area, and when Japanese beetles begin to emerge, the winsome fly will be ready to do what it was brought here for.

For more information on Japanese beetles and their management, check out the following article on Japanese beetles:http://www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil/wp-content/uploads/Japanese_beetle_in_hops.pdf. For more information on hops in general visit us on the web at www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil/hops.

Field Day Hop Irrigation Guest Speaker

Posted: July 21st, 2014 by hoppenin

We are excited to announce that Trevor Hardy from Brookdale Fruit Farm will be at our Annual Crops and Soil Field Day THIS THURSDAY, July 24th in Alburgh, VT.  He owns an irrigation company in Hollis, NH and will be sharing his expertise on the important topics of irrigation and fertigation.

Please join us!


July 2014 Hop Update

Posted: July 14th, 2014 by hoppenin

Disease: Downy mildew is our biggest pest problem this year in Vermont. Due to the lasting rainy weather, we continue to see aerial and basal spikes appear. For disease control in the Alburgh, VT research hopyard, we spray an organic fungicide weekly. We also have a new crowning trial this season that you can check out at our field day on July 24th at Borderview Farm!

Arthropods: On the arthropod side of pest management we have been finding medium levels of the major hop arthropod pests in Vermont. Hop aphids, two spotted spider mites, and potato leafhoppers are all present, yet have remained well below actionable levels. The harsh, long winter that our region experienced this year is certainly part of the reason for lower arthropod populations. A few Japanese beetles and various caterpillar species (Eastern comma and hop looper) have also been scouted. As a result of not applying insecticides thus far in our research yard, we have been able to avoid secondary outbreaks of spider mites and aphids. When broad spectrum insecticides are sprayed, beneficial arthropods are killed allowing pest arthropod populations to increase rapidly. See our major and minor arthropod pest fact sheets on our website under News from the Field.

Early Hop Cones: It has been observed across the country that cones are developing early. In our hopyard, ‘Saaz’ as of July 1, 2014 already had full sized cones and will be ready to harvest in a few weeks. It is unclear as to why we are seeing this trend but it is nationwide. Tell us what you’re seeing on our UVM Extension Crops and Soils facebook page!


Posted: June 19th, 2014 by hoppenin

We began irrigating on the week of June 1st and will continue to irrigate until harvest at the end of August. Hops require a lot of water! We strongly recommend that you irrigate, and once you are done, irrigate some more. Chris Lattak of the Trickl-eez irrigation company recommends 16 gallons per plant per week. That’s a hard number to hit – we won’t be reaching it because we’d run the well dry – but it’s a good goal. For evidence to the value in irrigation, see this recent SARE grant study from Aroostook Farm in Maine: http://www.aroostookhops.com/uploads/SAREFinalReport2012FNE11-711.pdf.  This year we also added a fertigation system, which applies fertilizer through the drip irrigation. The fertigation started the week of June 9th. More information to come on our fertigation system.

Downy Mildew Management

Posted: June 9th, 2014 by hoppenin

We have been receiving inquiries as to Downy Mildew diagnosis and management techniques. Our Downy Mildew fact sheet (Link is below) has quite a bit of information that can be helpful. As always, please contact us if you have specific questions, or if we can elaborate on anything found within the fact sheet.


Keep calm and hop on



Posted: May 19th, 2014 by hoppenin

Yellow, stunted basal spike = downy mildew

Yellow, stunted basal spike = downy mildew.

Early season hops work

Posted: May 19th, 2014 by hoppenin

Hello hop enthusiasts!

We hope that all of your hops are beginning to grow and green up as the season gets into full swing. This year we are conducting a crowning date experiment. The first crowning date occurred on April 14th, and the second on May 12th. Stay tuned for growth and production updates!

We will begin spraying for downy mildew this week. We have observed a few characteristic pale green – yellow, stunted basal spikes in Alburgh, VT (image). We will spray for the first time before wet weather returns later this week.

As in years past, we will begin scouting for insects on June 1st as they start filtering into the hopyard.

GROWERS: We have gotten many inquiries as to what pesticides to use. Please fill out a short questionnaire (7 easy questions) about pesticide use and application. The link is below.

As always, please contact us if you have questions or if we can assist in anyway.

Keep calm and hop on!

5th Annual Hops Conference

Posted: February 11th, 2014 by hoppenin

Just a Quick reminder that the UVM Extensions 5th annual hops conference will be held on February 27th, from 9am-4pm, at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Burlington, VT! Registration begins at 8:30 am. There is a wonderful line up of speakers this year with a wide range of knowledge and expertise. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil/hops. If you plan on attending, please RSVP by February 21st by going to www.uvm.edu/extension/hopsconference. We hope to see you all there!


2013 UVM Mobile Hops Harvester Summary

Posted: October 25th, 2013 by hoppenin

The UVM Mobile Hops Harvester visited six hop yards this year, harvesting approximately 400 dry pounds of hops over a 4 week period, plus harvesting the UVM research hop yard. This harvester, developed as a result of a Northeast Hops Alliance, UVM Extension, VT Agency of Ag Food and Markets, and MA Department of Agriculture sponsored project, aims to provide proof of concept of a mobile hops harvester in support of the re-emerging hop industry in the Northeast US.

View the UVM Extension AgEngineering Blog to see the full summary written by Chris Callahan, UVM Ag Engineer.

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