The New Zealand Hop Harvest has wrapped up for Crop Year 2022. Brent McGlashen of Mac Hops NZ has provided a final Field Report to conclude the season.
“You get that feeling that this year's New Zealand harvest is like the good old fishing saying of 'the one that got away.' A reasonably easy going growing season but one that has turned out to be very deceptive. Farmers always look back on the season's results and try to map out the routes they were happy with and the ones that they could have changed. But this year, most farmers were very happy with their route planning, it's just mother nature was charting a different map.
The beginning of harvest set the tone with delayed maturity (and start dates) and lighter kiln weights. This carried right through with varieties straying from their usual harvest windows and particularly having shortened windows. Lesson in horticulture to all: light, light, light. Although warm and humid throughout the harvest, the quality (intensity) of light was poor. There is a lot that goes on in a hop cone, particularly as it reaches full maturity. Growers will often test and track Alpha and Beta acid compound levels as another tool in maturity testing (along with dry matters, oils monitoring and experience). Beta acids establish first, and the rise of those big alpha compounds require those direct sunlight, high energy days leading right up to their harvest date. This year brewers will find in their hop analysis sheets expected beta levels but a reduction in normal average alphas for most NZ Varieties. BUT, here is the kicker, it has been an excellent aroma year. So those bags of hop pellets will still be popping with loads of NZ Hop characteristics you all love.
A final important note here for brewers is the importance of contracting particularly in years like this. There will be some uncontracted brewers who may miss out this year on their 2022 NZ Hops due to the reduced yield numbers. Plan and have a strategy for your yearly hop needs, this not only helps yourself to be covered but also your distributors and right back to your growers.”
We applaud the entire @machopsnz team for their work this harvest!