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What's Hoppening: Musings from the Hopyard!

2017 Hop Germplasm Study

Posted: June 7th, 2018 by hoppenin

While wild or naturalized hop plants are disbursed throughout the Northeast landscape, they have not been grown in this region on a commercial scale for the past 150 years.  Prohibition laws of the 1920’s, the spread of hop downy mildew, and the expansion of hop production in the Pacific Northwest led to the disappearance of the hop industry in the Northeast.  Recent and rapid growth in the craft beer industry has drastically increased the demand for local hop production.  The UVM Extension NWCS team is beginning to evaluate local wild cultivars to better understand their potential commercial value.

In fall of 2016, wild hop plants were gathered from eight locations in Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont.  A total of 10 wild hop species are being cultivated at Borderview hopyard.

Due to various growing conditions and hop characteristics, not all plants were harvested in 2017, and higher yields are expected in subsequent years!  Six varieties were harvested and data on total yield and quality were obtained – the characteristics between the hop varieties differed greatly in:

  • Susceptibility to pests
  • Reactions to pesticide combinations
  • Maturation rates
  • Oil profiles and oil compositions
  • Acid content

The UVM Extension NWCS team will continue to monitor these differences in future years, as well as obtain additional wild hop samples and varieties to add to the hop database.  Assessment of germplasm presents an opportunity to discover unique hop characteristics for a newly resurging Vermont crop.  Each variety’s characteristics could provide new and distinct flavor profiles for brewers through variable acid and oil profile combinations.  More information can be found in the full report on our Research page as well as hyperlinked below:



Think you found hop powdery mildew in your yard?

Posted: June 5th, 2018 by hoppenin

Bill Weldon, a graduate student at Cornell University, is conducting research on hop powdery mildew for his PhD thesis. He is trying to collect as many samples of hop powdery mildew from around the country as he can, and is asking for your help should you encounter powdery mildew in your hopyard or in areas of wild hops this season. The goal of his project is to better understand the diversity found within powdery mildew populations around the country. There are two mating types (aka “aka genders”) of powdery mildew and knowing whether both genders are present within a given yard directly impacts how we manage the disease. This sample collection will also help take steps to monitor for the development of fungicide resistance in hop powdery mildew populations.

Should you find any hop powdery mildew, please e-mail Bill immediately at ww395@cornell.edu and he will overnight you a sample collection kit. The sample collection process is very quick and easy. Essentially, you are just using small stickers to peel off hop powdery mildew from the surface of the infected leaf and placing the sticker in a little tube. It’s important to choose powdery mildew colonies that have a distinct round edge and haven’t grown to the point where it is merging with other colonies on the leaf. Ideally, 12 samples should be collected from each yard, evenly distributed throughout the rows of affected plants, so that he can accurately look at the diversity within the yard. Feel free to contact Bill with any questions about his project.

For more information about powdery mildew management in hops, check out Michigan State University IPM educator Erin Lizotte discussing that very topic for our most recent Hops Power Hour (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QcMimMxDIw&feature=youtu.be), and the following article on our website: http://www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil/wp-content/uploads/PowderyMildew.pdf.

And if you did find powdery mildew in your yard, remember to keep calm and hop on…

Powdery mildew on hop leaf. Photo credit: David Gent, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

Hop Power Hour May 21, 2018

Posted: May 17th, 2018 by hoppenin

Our next 2018 Hops Power Hour is this Monday, May 21, 2018 at Noon.  Following is the presentation information, as well as the link contact information to join the webinar.

Conference title : Powdery Mildew

Speaker: Erin Lizotte, who is a Senior Extension Educator at Michigan State University.


Please click the link to join the webinar – https://uvmextension.zoom.us/j/960290774

Or iPhone one-tap :

US: +16468769923,,960290774#  or +16699006833,,960290774#

Or Telephone:

Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

US: +1 646 876 9923  or +1 669 900 6833  or +1 408 638 0968

Webinar ID: 960 290 774

International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/bcwVY2Ki8

Canada – +1 647 558 0588


2018 Hops Power Hour and Hops Project

Posted: April 17th, 2018 by hoppenin

Over the past year, the University of Vermont Extension Northwest Crops & Soils (NWCS) Team has been working with many of you in the Northeast on our NE-SARE funded project to advance pest and nutrient management strategies for Northeast hop production. If you were among the more than 60 growers who participated in our project last year, we are looking forward to hearing from you again. However, even if you weren’t involved last year we are excited to have you join us.

Starting Monday, April 23 at noon, we will be hosting monthly Hops Power Hours – virtual discussions that will allow us to learn and share pest and nutrient management information. Hop Agronomist Julien Venne has kindly agreed to kick off our first Hops Power Hour on April 23 to discuss early season hop yard management. We will continue these monthly webinars at noon every fourth Monday of the month, to focus on seasonally appropriate topics.  See the bottom of this information for the connection information for the Hop Power Hours.  You can connect by computer or call in by phone.

If you are not able to join the live Hops Power Hours, you can always watch recordings of Hops Power Hours and many other videos produced by the UVM Extension Northwest Crops & Soils YouTube channel.  We will also be checking in with each of you through our goScout program. Once a month we will ask you a handful of short questions about your hop yard fertility and pest management. Your responses will allow us to learn about the challenges you’re facing throughout the season and tailor the upcoming Hops Power Hours to address those concerns.

Whether you were actively involved in last years’ project, entirely new to growing hops, or somewhere in between, please click here to let us know you’re onboard for the upcoming season by completing a survey. If you participated last year, you will simply be asked for optional feedback on the project so far. Newcomers will be asked to fill out a quick introductory survey that allows us to collect basic information about your hop yard, your level of understanding of hop yard management and goals for what you would like to learn more about as a part of the project. If you have any questions about the project, please email Scott Lewins (slewins@uvm.edu) or John Bruce (jbruce@uvm.edu).

Thank you!


To join the Hop Power Hour –

Topic: Hop Power Hour

Please click the link below to join the webinar:


Or iPhone one-tap :

US: +16468769923,,960290774#  or +16699006833,,960290774#

Or Telephone:

Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

US: +1 646 876 9923  or +1 669 900 6833  or +1 408 638 0968

Webinar ID: 960 290 774

International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/bcwVY2Ki8

Canada – +1 647 558 0588

2018 Hop Conference

Posted: February 12th, 2018 by hoppenin

Join us for our 9th Annual Hop Conference, where we will have a full morning session and opportunities to attend either advanced or beginning production sessions in the afternoon. Speaker highlights during the day include Roy Desrochers, of Tufts University who has over 34 years of experience using sensory technology to help brewers around the world develop and maintain winning products in the marketplace, will provide us with an interactive taste and aroma presentation; Pam Miller, owner/partner of Hopyards in Greenville, Michigan, will share with us how we can succeed in a Niche Market; Rob Sirrine of Michigan State University Extension will speak about successful hop systems in MI; and Dr. Heather Darby and her team will share hop research updates.

View our detailed agenda with speaker bios for the Hop Conference.

The Hops Live Broadcast will include the morning session and the advanced sessions during the afternoon. Our beginning hop grower session will include information on constructing a hop yard, hop yard trellis design, basic hop agronomy and pest management, irrigation, and harvest and post-harvest processing.

There will also be vendors and exhibitors to visit and gain information from!

Register today – www.regonline.com/hopconference

Cost is – $75 per person; $65 per NeHA member and $35 for the Hops Live Broadcast.

If you have questions, call Heather or Susan at 802-524-6501 or 1-800-639-2130 (toll-free in Vt. only).

Weather conditions prime for aphid infestations

Posted: September 7th, 2017 by hoppenin


The hop harvest is well underway in the Northeastern U.S., but growers are reporting high aphid populations on hops yet to be harvested. The cool and wet weather we have been experiencing has contributed to an abundance of aphids on a variety of crops including hops.

Massive aphid infestation on hop bine

The hop aphid is one of the most common pest of hops in our region. These soft-bodied plant suckers typically are found on the underside of hop leaves where they feed off the phloem of the plant. While feeding, aphids secrete a substance called “honey dew” that contains excess sugars. If honey dew is secreted in hop cones, the perfect conditions are provided for sooty mold to grow. Plant productivity can be reduced by aphids feeding, but the bigger concern is that aphids can cause direct damage to the cone, and the decreased cone quality and appearance from sooty mold reduces cone marketability.


Please be sure to closely monitor hops that are remaining in the field to decide if they should be harvested early to avoid or minimize damage from aphids.

For more information about hop yard management in general, please visit our website (http://www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil/hops), and for more information about the hop aphid and its management, check out the following article: http://www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil/wp-content/uploads/Hop-Aphid1.pdf.  And remember, keep calm and hop on…

Here is a picture of hop aphids and sooty mold on hop cone (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=80510)







Malting Barley Field Day, Aug 22

Posted: August 17th, 2017 by hoppenin

Andrew Peterson of Peterson Quality Malt has been malting Vermont-grown grains to supply Vermont’s rapidly growing market of brewers and distillers. He believes that these local businesses deserve a fresh, local product to make their brews and spirits.

Since opening the malt house in 2012, his business has continued to expand as the demand for malted grains continues to increase. Today, Andrew has 160 acres of barley with the plan to expand to 500 acres next year. At the mill, he malts 2 ton batches every 5 to 6 days.

Join us, UVM Extension and Andrew, on August 22, 2017 to tour the barley fields and visit the malting facility. We will start the workshop promptly at 11:00 a.m. at Andrew Peterson’s barley fields on the Van De Weert farm at 3670 Route 7, Ferrisburgh. We will discuss barley harvesting and processing for malt production. At noon, we will travel to Peterson Quality Malt for lunch and tour the facility to learn about malting small grains and grain quality requirements necessary for producing high quality malt.

The field day is free but pre-registration is required to give us an accurate lunch count. R.S.V.P. at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/havesting-and-malting-barley-tickets-36936884215 or contact Susan Brouillette at 802-524-6501 or susan.brouillette@uvm.edu.

More information about the event may be found in the field day flyer here. This event is supported with funding from the USDA Risk Management Agency and Northeast SARE.

Registration Open for 10th Annual Crops and Soils Field Day, 7/27

Posted: July 14th, 2017 by hoppenin

Birds’ eye view of the 2016 Annual Crops and Soils Field Day.

Our 10th Annual Crops and Soils Field Day is just 2 weeks away and you are invited!

All farmers, Extension educators, ag service providers, and other interested folk are welcome to attend our annual event on Thursday July 27, 2017 at Borderview Research Farm in Alburgh, Vermont.

This day-long event provides an opportunity to check out the latest in equipment, ideas and research of the University of Vermont (UVM) Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Program, host for the day. In keeping with the field day’s theme, “A Decade of Innovation–Germination–Application,” the day’s activities will show how the program is tackling challenges faced by farmers through researching new crops and new approaches to farming in the Northeast. Tours will be offered of research trials and sessions ranging from pasture management and precision agriculture to commercial production of new crops with tastings of end-products from crop research.

Registrations will be accepted through July 21 online at www.regonline.com/2017cropsfieldday or by phone. Contact Susan Brouillette (ext. 432) or Heather Darby (ext. 437) at (800) 639-2130 (toll-free within Vermont) or (802) 524-6501. Anyone requiring a disability-related accommodation to attend is asked to call no later than July 13. A catered lunch is included in the fee, which is $10 for farmers, $25 for non-farmers. Certified Crop Adviser credits are available.

On-site check-in gets underway at 9:15 a.m. with a guided tour starting at 10 a.m. Participants will tour the more than 3,000 plots of research trials–led by UVM Extension agronomy and soils specialist Heather Darby–focusing on cereal grain and soybean varieties; reduced tillage in silage corn; innovative crops such as hemp, dry beans, hops and milkweed; and cover crops and other soil health trials for forages and perennial grasses, vegetable and field crops.

Afternoon sessions will focus on perennial forages and pasture management; flame weeding technology for vegetables and hops; a look at hemp for fiber arts and CBD (Cannabidiol) oil; new no-till and cover crop equipment; milkweed floss production; and hop yard pest management. Learn more at: www.regonline.com/2017cropsfieldday.

What’s Hoppening with the Hoppers?

Posted: July 13th, 2017 by hoppenin

First, second, and third instar potato leafhopper nymphs.

As we all know, it has been an impressively rainy season so far here in the Northeast. While the rain has fueled pests like  downy mildew and aphids in our hopyard, potato leafhoppers (PLH) have thus far posed less of a threat to the production of our hops. However, even with lower numbers, these pests can still do damage to regional hopyards. Knowing what to look for and having a management plan to combat these pests will help in preventing plant damage and decreases in yields.

Potato leafhoppers overwinter in southern states and are carried north with the spring wind currents. Depending on winter temperatures, these insects can arrive in the Northeast between late spring and mid-June. The warmer the winter, the further these insects will travel north. Leaf hopper populations typically peak around July 1 depending on when they arrive and then start dying down around the beginning of August. While damage from these pests will soon start coming to an end for this growing season,  PLH management should continue over the next months.

When scouting for leafhoppers, hop leaves should be turned over and observed. PLH are long and skinny and move from side to side. Adults are larger than their nymph counterparts and are winged. When searching for adult potato leafhoppers, leaves of the hops plants can be shaken and the adults will often fly away.

PLH may be confused with aphids which are much less active, are round in shape and are often found between the midrib and veins of the leaves.

If you identify potato leafhopper in your yard, management options include:

  • Pyrethroid Insecticide application (make sure it is labeled for hops);
  • Bio-control like lady bugs and other predatory insects; and
  • Installation of trap crops like red clover or alfalfa.

Dr. Lily Calderwood recently reviewed management options as part of our Vermont Hops Power Hour  webinar series.

Hopperburn: visual V-shaped chlorosis injury caused by potato leafhopper.

Not properly managing the leafhopper can cause significant damage in hop yards and dramatically reduce yields. The leafhoppers have piercing-sucking mouthparts that damage the leaf tissue and stem phloem of the plants. This feeding technique causes necrosis of the leaf known as hopperburn, where  the tip and outer edges of the leaf to yellow and then brown. Hopperburn reduces the photosynthetic capacity of the plant and thus reduces the energy available to produce cones. That said, it is imperative that leafhoppers are managed in some way or another.

With the rainy summer we’ve had, there’s a good possibility next season will be drier. With a drier, warmer season comes more potato leafhoppers. Preparing for the leafhoppers for next season may be a key to success in producing higher hops yields in 2018.

It’s a Wet One!

Posted: June 7th, 2017 by hoppenin

All spikes indicate a day or days when there is high risk for downy mildew. Click on image to enlarge.

Well, 2016 was a droughty growing season, but so far 2017 is shaping up to be quite the opposite. This damp weather can be a problem for a few reasons but especially because it creates a haven for downy mildew infection which can greatly reduce harvest yield. Since mid-April, we have forecasted that 45% of days between April 15 and June 6 have had a high risk for disease incidence. Plants are very vulnerable to downy mildew infection during periods with prolonged moisture on the shoots and foliage. For more information on downy mildew, please be sure to check out our earlier blog posts about downy mildew.

Similar to the 2015 season, the cool, damp weather has set the hops back in their vegetative growth.  June is a very important month for physiological hop development. By the time the plants reach the top of the trellis, the number of cone-producing side shoots will be determined. Hops are a photoperiod sensitive crop, so if plants are unable to reach the top of the trellis by the time the day length changes (generally on summer solstice, June 21) and begin their reproductive phase, they will not produce as many cones.

Keep your fingers crossed for drier weather! And remember to keep calm and hop on.

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