Friday, July 29, 2016

An Update from the NC Research Hop Yard-End of July Report

This article was written by Kelly Gaskill, Research Assistant and our resident hops grower:
We are just a few short weeks away from our first harvest at the NCSU Research Hop Yard in Mills River, NC. The plants are looking pretty darn good this year after a somewhat slow start. We finally have the rains we were hoping for in early summer. We did have downy mildew early on, but with our weekly spray schedule we have kept the disease at bay. The regular pests were certainly showing up, too; spider mites, leaf hoppers and Japanese beetles. These were managed with a miticide and insecticide. More recently we have been experimenting with predator mites (Phytoseiulus persimilis). So far they seem to be effectively controlling the spider mite pest population.
In early July the plants started sending out a new flush of side shoots on the lower three feet of the bines. They did this last year too, making a decent sized second harvest and boosting yields. 
However, this harvest season will be different than the previous five years due to the use of a harvesting machine on loan from the great folks at Hopsharvester. We are currently in the process of fine-tuning the harvester to adapt to our plants that are less vigorous then those up north where the machine was developed. When fully functioning it can pick 180 bines per hour! 
As for the varieties- Canadian Red Vine is once again loaded with cones and we anticipate another monster harvest from this one. We propagated 15 rhizomes this spring and these plants are loaded with cones too! This variety is an exciting one to be sure! In other news, Nugget, a typical high yielder is showing very few cones this year and I can’t pin point the reason. Ah, the ups and downs of hop growing in the Southeast. Happy Weekend Everyone! 
 PS: You can still sign up for our monthly research hop yard tours when we will be demonstrating the harvester. Go to Hop Yard Tours

Friday, July 8, 2016

Annual Alternative Crops and Organics Research Tour AND Biodynamic Workshop

This is an annual event that many people come to every year to see what we are up to on the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, NC. The morning tour is focused on our certified organic research on vegetables, our hops breeding, and our truffle project. In the afternoon, you can join us for lunch and a workshop on Biodynamic agriculture. There are a number of large markets and processors searching for Biodynamic product. We will tell you what Biodynamic agriculture is and why we are interested in studying it. There will be two Biodynamic farmers to discuss their operations and a representative from Demeter USA will explain how to become certified.

We ask you to register ahead of time so we know how many people to plan for. The tour is free and the workshop with lunch is $10. Spacing for the workshop is limited, so don't wait.
Here is a link to the website with more information, the agenda, and registration:
Alternative Crops and Organics Tour and Biodynamic Workshop Registration

Thank you to our sponsor for making this program affordable for everyone:

Thursday, July 7, 2016

2017 South Atlantic Hops Conference-Sponsor and Exhibitor Registrations Now Open

The 2017 South Atlantic Hops Conference will be held March 24 and 25 at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Asheville, NC. Mark your calendars now for this fun and educational event. Registrations are now open for sponsors and exhibitors. General registration will open shortly. I can tell you there will be a tour on Friday and the educational programming will be on Saturday. Here is a link to the