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What's Hoppening: Musings from the Hopyard!

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…

WCAX Highlights Hop Research

Posted: October 6th, 2014 by hoppenin

Hey all, If you haven’t seen it yet, WCAX, our local CBS affiliate, highlighted our hop research in a recent “Sunday Science” feature. Take a look!

Sunday Science: Researching local hops – WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports.


Preparing Hop Samples for Quality Analysis

Posted: September 3rd, 2014 by hoppenin

Happy hop harvest everyone! As you may know, our University of Vermont Extension Hop Quality Testing Laboratory is now up and running. We want to thank everyone for supporting the lab! We have received many samples over the last few weeks.

As samples have been coming in, however, we have noticed that many are above the recommended 8% to 10% moisture level for storage. Unfortunately, samples that exceed these moisture levels are very difficult to process and analyze. For example, it is almost impossible for us to grind the sample properly, leading to broken equipment.

good hop sample

Pictured above: Ground sample of hops dried to the proper moisture level of 8% to 10%. Note how the sample is light and crumbly. This is what we’re looking for!

bad hop sample

Pictured above: Ground sample of hops that have too much moisture. Sticky, clumpy, almost sausage-like appearance.


Unfortunately, these types of samples also lead to inaccurate test results. So, before sending in your samples, please make sure they are dried properly. Here are some tips for preparing and submitting a hop sample.

1. We require 100 grams of hops, dried to 8% to 10% moisture level. Once you have dried down the hops and they are removed from the dryer, let them sit for a bit to cool to room temperature to let any heat dissipate from the hops. If samples are packaged immediately after removing from a heated dryer, they will likely condensate in the package and increase the moisture content of the hops. You can refer to our Hops Harvest Moisture Determination factsheet and Hops Harvest Moisture Online Calculator for help with hop dry matter determination. You may also visit our YouTube video for some reminders about determining dry matter: Determining Hop Harvest Moisture and Ideal Storage Dry Matter.

2. For the best test results, samples of dried hops should be frozen and/or packaged to avoid oxidation (ziploc or vacuum sealed) and shipped overnight. Please remember to plan your shipping so that your sample arrives to the lab during the work week between 8 am and 4:30 pm. Samples that arrive to the lab over the weekend are not opened until Monday.

3. Please make sure to complete a Sample Submission Form and include payment ($30 per sample).

The turnaround time for test results are 7 to 10 business days; we email the results to you unless requested otherwise. Thanks so much and hop on!

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.

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