September 2020 – Week 4 Harvest Update
The 2020 hop harvest in the Pacific Northwest is almost complete. Every harvest has its challenges and this one was no different. It began with unseasonably warm temperatures followed by a devastating Labor Day windstorm that kept yields from hitting their full potential for later picked varieties. As if we needed another challenge after the wind damage, the entire region experienced intense smoke from forest fires up and down the west coast for a period of three to four days. A cool, light rain and some minor winds helped scour out the smoke and growers were able to finish in more favorable weather conditions for the final week of harvest.
Oregon enjoyed a good crop as growers were generally happy with yields across most varieties. Quality was exceptional for most lots received and alpha analyses were at or slightly above average on later picked Nugget hops.
In Washington, early varieties were spotty as yields were variable from field to field and farm to farm. Cascade yields were down in general, while Centennial yields were average. Early concerns about Simcoe® yields were short-lived as later picked Simcoe® yards brought the overall crop back to the level projected prior to harvest. Later picked varieties were limited by the wind damage, but both Citra® and Mosaic® performed to pre-harvest projections and quality is generally good. Pahto® yields appear to be disappointing, but alpha readings are above average on many lots.
In Idaho, growers experienced lower yield performance on Simcoe®, but were happy with Citra® yields. The Cascade and Chinook crops were off a bit, and Mosaic® yields varied significantly across the state. There was some mite pressure on late-picked CTZ cutting into yield expectations, but alpha analyses were about average. Idaho-7® performed well despite some yield hits due to the windstorm.
Despite the challenging conditions, most growers reported a safe harvest with very few COVID issues. Already, the process has begun to get the raw hops into final form to preserve quality. While everyone misses the annual harvest connections, the virtual selection process has been executed smoothly so far and brewers in general are happy with quality and the process. Now the focus turns to getting everything into finished goods and into brew kettles across the planet. Cheers to all the people throughout the supply chain who helped get our hops delivered despite the challenges of 2020 and all the best to our brewery customers as they create great beer in 2021.