From a hop yard in the Yakima Valley, Joe Catron of Yakima Chief Hops provide the second field report of the Crop Year 2022.
Good morning everyone, I'm Joe Catron with Yakima Chief Hops. Hope you all had an awesome 4th of July weekend. Out here to give a little crop report on the Yakima Valley this year so far. As you know, it's been a cool, wet Spring. Pretty strange weather cycle for our part of the world. And the hops are definitely showing it. It's a bit of a mixed bag. Simcoe® is looking really incredible in some spots, and looking a little spindly in some spots like we see in the back here. We have Mosaic® and Citra® that are really starting to round into form. Overall, it's going to be a pretty tough baby [baby hops] year. The cold spring weather, the late plantings, the big wind storms, and rain storms have really knocked back the baby crop quite a bit. In conjunction with the sun not being out and the plants not growing, the wet weather has not only kept the plants pretty short but it's also created some downy and powdery mildew pressure. Especially in the lower valley. So we are hoping over the next couple weeks, as we start to see mid 80's...mid 90's, that heat's going to help the plants grow going into bloom. And will help beat back some of that downy mildew pressure that we are seeing. Overall, I have talked to a few growers and the grower standard is "it's going to be an average crop." Despite the challenges, despite the bad baby year we are looking at a normal, about average yield for this year. One positive takeway for this crop year is our virus free planting material. You can drive around the valley and see fields planted with old rootstock and you can see fields right next to them planted with virus free materials. And we are really seeing some robust growth. While this year might not be a bumper crop, and we have definitely dealt with some challenges, overall we are looking at a good crop with an average yield. Hopefully the quality is going to be extremely high. Lower temperatures have obviously helped us fight off any wildfires and smoke damage thus far. We are hoping we don't have to deal with that as well this year. Just trying to stay positive and hope for the best. So looking forward to a good rest of the growing season and looking forward to harvest here in a few weeks.