UVM Extension Northwest Crops and Soils program is hosting “The Basics of Descriptive Sensory Analysis” 2021 Sensory Training course. UVM Extension’s sensory expert, Roy Desrochers, will be the instructor for this interactive comprehensive six module virtual training program, that will be held Tuesday and Thursdays from March 30 to April 15, 8:30am to 10:00am.
The program was initially offered to hop growers, and we are now opening 15 additional spots for hop brewers. You must register by this Friday, March 19th by 4pm. As this program, that teaches the basics of objective aroma and flavor evaluation, is interactive, we need to have time to mail you a box of supplies before the first module on March 30.
View the Sensory Training Course flyer. Cost is $200 per person. You can register online here or call UVM’s Non-Credit Registrar’s office at 802-656-8407 by Friday, March 19 at 4pm. Remember, registration is capped at 15 brewers.
The Japanese beetle (Popillia Japonica) can be a significant economic pest in Northeastern hop yards. Japanese beetles begin to show up in Vermont at the very end of June or early July, and are most active on warm, sunny days. We spotted a Japanese beetle in our hop yard at Borderview Farm on July 1. Japanese beetles can be found feeding on the fruits, flowers, and foliage of over 200 plants. Hop leaves damaged by Japanese beetles are skeletonized, with only the veins left behind. The adult is an oval-shaped beetle with a metallic green body, copper-colored elytra (hard front wings) and tufts of white hair along its abdomen. Japanese beetles overwinter in the soil as white C-shaped grubs, where they feed on the roots of many crops, though they are not known to cause significant damage to hops as grubs.
There are several conventional and OMRI approved chemicals that can be used to manage Japanese beetle adults in Northeastern hop yards. See Table 1 in our factsheet for a list of approved insecticides for Japanese beetles on hops in MA, NY and VT for 2012. This list is not exhaustive; please check with your local Extension service or Agency of Agriculture. When using a pesticide, be sure to read the label in its entirety. It is illegal to use a chemical in a site or on a pest for which it is not specifically labeled. Be sure to adhere to pre-harvest intervals and use proper personal protection equipment. It is always advisable to try out a new pesticide or tank mix on a few plants to evaluate a crop’s reaction before spraying the whole yard. Also note that there are some varietal differences in reactions to certain pesticides.
Most insecticides will not only kill target pests, but can also be damaging to beneficial insect populations. When applying an insecticide in your hop yard, always be aware that eliminating beneficial insects can lead to secondary outbreaks, when a less abundant pest is given an advantage by removing its natural enemies. The hop burr is very susceptible to mechanical damage during pesticide applications, so if at all possible, try to avoid spraying during burr development. Instead, spray just prior to flowering and use a product that is a very effective protectant with a long residual period.
In addition to chemical controls, biological control of Japanese beetle grubs can be very effective. There are several beneficial nematodes, which are commercially available, and applied as a soil drench. Another effective biological control of Japanese beetle grubs is the milky spore bacterium (Bacilluspapillae), which comes in the form of a powder that can be applied to the soil.
It is leafhopper season again and those pesky insects have been spotted at our research hop yard at Borderview Research Farm, in Alburgh, Vermont. This is a great time to start scouting for insects as well as for disease to ensure proper management of all hop pests. So far, this season has not been conducive for the hop pests that thrive in wet conditions, such as downy mildew and aphids, but the potato leafhoppers have arrived right on schedule. Potato leafhoppers are migratory insects transported via wind currents from the southern United States, generally appearing in the Northeast between late-May and mid-June. Our first sighting was on June 10, 2020.
To scout for potato leafhoppers, examine the back of a hop leaf for little torpedo shaped insects with distinctive green coloration. Young potato leaphoppers, or nymphs, are flightless insects and can be seen scuttling around the leaves in a side-to-side fashion. Adults can also be scouted by checking the backs of the leaves, or for a easier approach, you can just give your plants a little shake and watched the adult potato leafhoppers fly off the plant or jump from leaf to leaf. At our hopyard, we have only observed adults so far, but that means the nymphs aren’t far behind. Within one season, there are usually two or three generations of leaphoppers present in northern hop yards.
Potato leafhoppers are an economically damaging pest that can cause hopper burn, which is a distinctive yellowing of the leaves in a V-shaped pattern, eventually leading to leaf tip necrosis. Hopper burn decreases leaf photosynthetic activity and can cause plant production to suffer. One of the best ways to combat potato leafhopper damage is by planting an alfalfa or red clover trap crop. Potato leafhoppers prefer to feed on these legumes and can be redirected from your hop yard with strategic plantings on the outskirts of the yard or in the drive row.
For more information on PLH management in hops, see the following resources:
Now is a great time to prepare for the upcoming season as plants are beginning to come out of dormancy. If you haven’t ordered your coir for the season, now is the time to do so while also taking inventory of other necessary tools and supplies such as w-clips, applicators, and pruners to name a few. Work in the hop yard in Alburgh, VT has picked up with the recent warm weather. We have begun cleaning up our hop yard from any existing debris and supplies have been ordered. As we near the fast approaching season, there are a number of activities that can prepare you in the hop yard if you haven’t done so already.
– Order necessary supplies.
-Clean and disinfect tools.
-Submit a soil test for fertility guidelines for the upcoming season.
-Develop a proposed schedule for fertility applications based on these soil test guidelines.
-Check irrigation system and patch or replace broken lines and valves.
-Remove any residual debris from previous season.
-Repair damaged trellis. –
– Check equipment and perform necessary maintenance.
As the spring progresses the necessity to prune will arrive quickly as well as the need for stringing plants to set your plants up for success. With plants a few weeks ahead of last year (which got off to a slow, wet start) crowning has been completed on our research plots with future plans to flame prune a few weeks away.
major arthropod pests of hops in the Northeast are Potato Leafhopper (PLH),
Two-spotted Spider Mites (TSSM), and Hop Aphids (HA). This incidence of these
pests in hop yards is based on the weather conditions, and we found that the
hop aphids preferred cool and moist conditions and populations peaked around
the time of harvest through September. For more information about disease,
weed, and insect pest populations, check out our six-year study, Organic Hop Variety Trial .
Hop aphids (Phorodon humuli) are small soft-bodied
insects that come in both wingless (immature individuals) and winged (adult
females) forms, both of which are found on hop plants. Hop aphids are pear
shaped and range in color from pale white to a yellowish-green and are found on
the underside of the hop leaf. They do not over winter on hops, but rather on a
variety of plants in the Prunus genus (Family Rosaceae). Hop aphids over winter
as eggs and in early spring the eggs hatch and reproduce asexually for one or
two generations before the winged form migrates to hop plants in May.
insects have piercing-sucking mouth parts that are used to feed on the hop
leaves and cones, and suck the phloem from the plant. This can cause leaves to
curl, and turn cones brown and limp. Hop aphids also release a sugary substance
called “honey dew”, which allows for the growth of sooty mold fungi on the hop
leaves and cones. While leaf feeding can decrease the marketability of the
crop, the bigger threat to hop yield and quality is the sooty mold which results
in aesthetic cone damage and a decreased cone quality.
important to start scouting early in the season and monitor hop aphid
populations throughout the season. One way to control hop aphids is the use of
natural enemy arthropods. A list of management tactics and natural enemy
arthropods can be found in Hop Aphid, Phorodon humuli (Schrank), in
Northeastern Hop yards.
Scouting for downy mildew in the hop yard. Now that the growing season is underway, it is important to be on the lookout for downy mildew! This spring has been very rainy, and the excess moisture on the hop plants creates ideal conditions for downy mildew infections. Downy mildew produces spores in warm, moist conditions and can spread quickly. Plants are at a higher risk during rainy days because the plant’s stomata, or pores, are open, leaving an open pathway for disease invasion.
Downy mildew is a systemic infection which means that once a
plant has downy mildew, it is infected for life. At the end of the growing
season, downy mildew will over winter in the crown of the infected hop plant,
and re-emerge in the spring.
When scouting your
hop yard, the first signs of a downy mildew infection are the basal spikes. Basal
spikes are chlorotic, or yellowing, and have shortened internodes, or the space
between leaf pairs. A severely infected basal spike may also have desiccated
Other signs of a downy
mildew infection are aerial spikes and infected leaves, which will begin to
appear as the season progresses. Aerial spikes have the same chlorotic
appearance and short internodes as basal spikes, except they’re found on a trained
plant rather than on the ground. Infected leaves have necrotic lesions,
delineated by leaf veins. These lesions are angular and have very distinct
edges, which can help with disease identification.
Downy mildew can be managed and
there are methods to prevent the spread of infection. When scouting plants, it
is important to trim off the infected bines and leaves, and to make sure that
infected plant material is removed from the hop yard. If infected leaves have
spores, be careful while handling them to reduce the risk of spreading
Increased airflow is another way to reduce downy mildew. It
reduces the amount of time your foliage spends wet, which decreases the time
that downy mildew is producing spores. Stripping the lower 2 to 4 feet of
foliage once a plant is trained and established can reduce moisture.
Biofungicides are another helpful tool to use during the
season to control downy mildew, and they can be applied the day before a rain
event. There are a variety of conventional and organic fungicides registered
for hop use. If you live in Vermont, a list of OMRI-approved biofungicides can
be found in the 2016
Hop Biofungicide Trial Research Report.
It is very important to only apply fungicides that are listed in your
state for use on hops so be sure to check the label.
Stringing often starts in April for many farmers in
the Northeast. Stringing consists of tying coir twine to the top supporting
wire of the hop trellis and stapling the bottom of twine into the ground next
to the hop plant. Depending on
trellising style and setup, 1-4 strings will be run to each crown, though we
typically see two in many yards. The strings are inserted into the ground and
held in with “W” clips using an insertion tool. This will provide the bines
with a means to grow to the top wire in the upcoming season.
In commercial hop yards, training dates are determined by cultivar growth in the spring. Depending on whether a cultivar matures early, mid-season, or late, there is typically a particular range of days for those plants to start their upward growth. Getting the bines off the ground is also important for managing downy mildew and other potential disease issues.
Training dates from 2013-2018, Alburgh, VT.
20-May to 27-May
19-May to 30-May
20-May to 26-May
24-May to 25-May
22-May to 23-May
is the process of wrapping shoots around the twine in a clockwise motion. Three
to five shoots are selected from the crown to be wrapped around the twine. This
process can be time consuming
and will play a major role in subsequent plant growth and yield. Choose
healthy, vigorous shoots for training that are 2-3’ in length, but avoid
training bull shoots. Bull shoots are characterized by having greater internode
spacing, hollow stems, and are often purple in color. These shoots will be less
productive and more brittle in the wind. The bull shoots do not yield well and
should not be trained. Think about leaving some shoots as backups during
general, early harvested hops will have higher yields when trained earlier,
whereas late harvested hop will have higher yields if trained later. We look to
start training by mid to late May for our early maturing varieties but
postponing another week can be beneficial for late maturing varieties depending
on growing conditions. In the Northeast, training dates for farmers may fall
between mid-May and early-June. We recommend that you make your own
observations of hop maturity for each variety and keep detailed records of training
dates for your region.
Hop downy mildew is currently
the biggest disease 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 infected crown or the first flush of spring hop
growth is called “crowning” or “scratching”. 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 and likely most crowning has already occurred. However,
scratching or removal of new growth can still be done and may further eliminate
infected plant material. Below are some basic tips for crowning and scratching
for our region.
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 if it can be done in April or very early May.
For early season shoot removal any
of the following three methods have been used with success in the Northeast.
1. Mechanically cutting and removing the shoots.
2. Flaming after first flush of growth and shoot emergence.
application. Make sure any pesticide used in your hop yard is labeled for use
in your state and on hops.
Registration fees are $75 per person, $65 per NeHA member and $35 for the live
year’s live broadcast will be recording all presentations except for the two
breakout Foam Brewery sessions, as they will be held in a different room.
you wish to take advantage of our group rate to stay a night at the DoubleTree
by Hilton, you need to reserve before this Friday, Feb. 15th.
A block of rooms is available at the DoubleTree by Hilton Burlington
only until Feb. 15, 2019 for the rate of $122/night. Call 1-802-865-6600 and
use Group Code: HOP or register online at https://bit.ly/2RWJdAP.
Come help us celebrate our anniversary of the 10th Annual Hop
Establishing Your Hop Yard – Friday, 9/28/18, 10am to 12pm
Champlain Valley Hops is a growing hop farm in Starksboro, Vermont. The farm goals are to grow and process quality hop products for Vermont brewers. They are currently in the process of improving their land, building hop trellises and planting hops.
Join UVM Extension Northwest Crops and Soils staff Heather Darby, Scott Lewins and John Bruce, along with Champlain Valley Hops crew Peter Briggs and Julian Post to learn how they established their hop yard, including weed management and irrigation strategies. There are 26 acres trellised and 18 acres planted with hop varieties: Centennial, Willamette, Crystal, Cascade, Magnum, Chinook, Nugget.