I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
Ann George, Administrator for the Washington Hop Commission, says hop harvest here in the state is nearing completion.
GEORGE: We have a few growers who are starting to wrap up and probably within the next week things will pretty well be done, we may even be approaching 90% done.
George says it’s been fine weather wise during harvest for most of the crop, although there were tense moments for some growers.
GEORGE: We’ve had a couple of interesting storms here in the Yakima Valley during harvest - some wind, and some rain, and we did have a little bit of problem with some hop yards collapsing as a result of that. That’s always a really difficult situation for the grower who is affected, and trying to untangle the trellis from the vines and get the vines rescued and still try to get a partial harvest off the field is a big job.
U.S. hop variety production has been changing over the last few years.
GEORGE: One of the things we’ve seen here in the U.S. that’s really been driven forward by the growth in the craft brewing industry is a transition of our acreage from the traditional alpha type varieties that had been the mainstay of U.S. production for many years to more of the aroma type varieties, the flavor type varieties that are coveted by the craft industry. We’ve really shifted our acreage from roughly 70% alpha and 30% aroma - this year we’re at about 50/50 between alpha and aroma acreage. And I think that that’s been a real key in somewhat stabilizing the market, because it seems to be the alpha where you really have problems with oversupplies and then you run out, and that one is a little bit more of a generic side of the market.
The Northwest produces nearly 100% of the U.S. hop crop, with Washington accounting for 77% of U.S. production and 25% of world hop production.
That’s Washington Ag Today.
I’m Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.