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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with www.e-malt.com
15 May, 2017

Hops news USA, ID: Hop growers to add 1,500 acres this year

Idaho hop growers will add 1,500 acres this year, and there is an outside shot the state could move into the No. 2 spot in the U.S. for hop production, Capital Press reported on May 12.

Hop acres in Idaho, the nation’s No. 3 hop producing state behind Washington and Oregon, have increased by large amounts every year since 2012, when they totaled 2,423.

They increased to 3,376 in 2013 and then 3,743 in 2014, 4,863 in 2015 and 5,648 in 2016.

Idaho growers told Capital Press they planted about 1,500 new acres this year, which would push the total amount of hop acres in this state past 7,000.

With Idaho typically enjoying higher hop yields than Oregon, it’s possible Idaho could move into the No. 2 spot for total production this year, said southwestern Idaho grower Mike Gooding.

“There is an outside chance Idaho may move into the No. 2 spot, ahead of Oregon,” he said. “That would be something that nobody ever dreamed of 10 years ago.”

According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, 7,765 acres of hops were harvested in Oregon last year. NASS will release state-level hop acreage estimates next month.

Since 2014, average hop yields in Idaho have ranged from 50 to 300 pounds per acre higher than in Oregon.

“I think over time, that’s certainly a possibility,” Hop Growers of America Administrator Ann George said about Idaho’s chances of passing Oregon in hop production.

Idaho’s string of large hop acreage increases is expected to come to an end next year because hop production is catching up with market demand, industry leaders told Capital Press.

“I think most everybody is done after this year putting more hops in,” Gooding said. “It’s definitely going to slow down next year.”

The huge jumps in craft beer production drove the Idaho acreage increases and while craft beer production is still healthy, growth slowed to single-digit percentages in 2016 after six straight years of double-digit growth.

Southwestern Idaho hop grower Brock Obendorf, who added a couple hundred new acres this year, believes the whole industry will slow down for a few years to see what the craft industry does.

“I think (the acreage increases are) going to come to a screeching halt because the market is going to drop off,” said Obendorf, chairman of the Idaho Hop Commission. “I think there are too many acres.”

Growth in the craft beer industry is still healthy, “it’s just not at the meteoric pace that it was before,” George said. “I would certainly see things starting to slow down. Brewers are telling us to put the brakes on.”

George said early estimates, as reported at the International Hop Growers’ Convention in April, are that 5,000 acres of hops will be added around the nation this year, and about 4,200 of those acres will be in the Northwest.


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