September 2020 – Week 3 Harvest Update
Hop growers across the Pacific Northwest welcomed clear skies and wonderful weather over the weekend as smoke from wildfires on the West Coast lifted, improving air quality and providing ideal weather conditions for the beginning of the last week of hop harvest.
Growers in Oregon wrapped up over the weekend with reason to celebrate a good crop both in yield and quality. Growers were satisfied with Nugget yield and alpha. Growers’ attention has started to shift to other crops and to planning for the 2021 hop crop.
The Idaho and Washington harvest will wrap up for most growers later on this week slightly ahead of schedule due to a shorter crop and enhanced harvest capacity designed by growers to meet optimum picking windows. Most growers are reporting lower yields in the later picked varieties due to the Labor Day windstorm that dropped many hop cones on the yard floors and also caused some cone dehydration. The dried cones were separated in the picking process resulting in yield losses from 3 to 10 % depending on the variety and the field’s exposure to high winds. There seems to be wide variability, even on the same farm.
While spot availability might be limited in some later picked varieties, we don’t anticipate any issues with contract fulfillment and overall quality is good. The harvest of alpha varieties has just begun with early indications of slightly lower yields and alpha readings near normal levels. Seed levels are generally trending downward from last year.
Temperatures are expected in the lower to mid-70’s the rest of the week under mostly sunny and smoke-free skies. We will have a final harvest report next week with more details by variety.