Hop yield rallies despite drought

— Business is hopping for local hop farmers as this year’s harvest is expected to exceed 2014’s by 12.7 percent.

That’s according to Hop Growers of America, which noted the growth came despite high early-season temperatures and tight irrigation water supplies.

At the same time, late-season bitter hops were a bright spot with above-average yields.

That contrast was felt in the Lower Valley, as well, according to Taylor Swofford, spokesperson for Hops Direct/Puterbaugh Farms in Grandview.

“Select aroma varieties struggled with the extreme heat during the growth stages in the cones, and the lack of water supply for irrigation did not help,” she said. “The yields were down in these particular varieties and unfortunately they just happen to be (some of the) in the highest demand within the craft brewing industry.”

In the big picture, though, Swofford said 2015 was overall a healthy crop year for hops.

At the same time, she’s hopeful 2016 won’t see a repeat of drought conditions that threatened to hamper this year’s yield.

“Praying for snow pack and more favorable conditions for the 2016 crop,” Swofford said.


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