Don’t plant this year, hop growers advised

— Idaho has surpassed Oregon in the production of hops, but Washington remains the No. 1 producing state by far.

According to the annual Statistical Report from Hop Growers of America, total production has gone up steadily since 2012. It suggests that no hops be planted this year.

The report reveals data compiled on 2017 harvest for all U.S. acres. It focuses on Washington, Oregon and Idaho and 26 additional states outside that combined produce about 2 percent of the national crop.

Notable findings of the data include:

• U.S. hop acreage has increased 79.5% since 2012; production by 77%.

• For the first time, Idaho has surpassed Oregon in production to become the second highest hop producing state at 13.2 percent. Washington and Oregon were at 75.4 percent and 11.4 percent, respectively

• The alpha to aroma/dual purpose hops ratio has shifted from approximately 50/50 in 2012 to 80/20 in 2017

• Increase in customer demand for aromas has meant an increase in production costs for farms, increasing infrastructure and capacities

• The yields for 2017 jumped up 14 percent from 2016 thanks to maturing “baby” (newly planted) hops, and more favorable weather conditions.

Global hop demand appears to be on the rise, thanks to burgeoning international craft beer cultures. But industry leaders caution against additional acreage being added in the U.S. for the 2018 crop.

All key indicators suggest current aroma hop demand has largely been satisfied by the unprecedented expansion of U.S. acreage in recent years.

However, reports also indicate current global alpha inventories are insufficient for market demands. The global brewing industry has finally worked through decade-long surpluses.

The surpluses had perpetually depressed the alpha market since 2009. However, the alpha deficit is expected to be satisfied in the near term.



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