September 2020 – Week 2 Harvest Update
Hop harvest is in the home stretch run in the Pacific Northwest. In the aftermath of the Labor Day windstorm, the entire region has suffered from poor air quality as smoke from the fires up and down the west coast has contributed to cooler temperatures, but less-than-ideal working conditions. Masks help, but the entire industry is looking forward to forecasted showers and light winds for the near future. There are no smoke-related quality issues anticipated.
The harvest in Oregon will wrap up this week where good quality and good yields have continued for the later maturing varieties. There were some concerns that managed rolling power outages in reaction to fires might be an issue for some harvest facilities, but those have not materialized. Growers were happy with Citra® performance and Nugget yields have been good. There was at least one Nugget yard that collapsed due to the Labor Day windstorm, but it is anticipated it will be harvested.
The crop is maturing fast in Idaho, and growers are working diligently to get the crop off and delivered in a timely manner. Yields continue to be slightly lower than average overall across most varieties. Alpha analyses seem to be tracking at normal levels.
In Washington, good yields in late harvested Simcoe® helped bring the overall production near five-year average levels. The Citra® harvest is concluding this week and many growers are reporting disappointing yields due to the windstorm. Quality is good and small cone size is the most common factor reported among growers who were expecting higher yields. Even with wind damage, early Mosaic® yield reports are encouraging. We will know more next week on final Mosaic® performance. Alpha hop harvest will begin in earnest next week, but alpha readings so far are average.
There are very few problematic seed lots and the overall average seems to be down from last year. With an extended, cooler bloom season, many growers anticipated seed numbers to trend upward. As the season progresses, we still expect the crop size to be smaller due to the windstorm, but near five-year average yield on most varieties thanks to a good crop in Oregon.
Temperatures are expected to be cooler through the week and air quality should improve as the weather changes. We should have more conclusive numbers on Citra®, Mosaic®, and the alpha varieties by next week. There appears to be sufficient hops to meet all contract obligations and overall quality appears to be good. Stay tuned next week for more details.