The 2017 hop harvest collected 761 tonnes, which was 4.3% down on last year’s crop despite more hectares being harvested.
A total of 442 hectares was harvested, an increase of 30 hectares from 2016 but NZ Hops chief executive Doug Donelan says poor growing conditions affected the volumes.
“The growing season itself was far from optimum being strongly influenced by the La Niña conditions which brought about an extremely wet spring and cool summer. These unfavourable conditions and severe wind events caused slow growth and breakages. Yield performance in all but a few varieties was below average and attributable to the unfavourable weather conditions.”
Donelan says the popular Nelson Sauvin variety was hardest hit. “The varieties that performed well despite the conditions were Motueka, Wai-iti, Taiheke, Kohatu and Southern Cross. The Nelson Sauvin variety did not fare well in the windy conditions, suffering from lateral breakages and diminished cone development while the Riwaka variety also performed well below average, having been severely impacted by several weather variables during the growing season.”
Nelson Sauvin remains our top variety, with 185 tonnes harvested followed by Motueka (142 tonnes) and Wakatu (68 tonnes). New Zealand varieties made up 734 tonnes of the 2017 harvest.
Donelan reports there are 18 hop growers, no change on last year. One hop farm left the NZ Hops co-operative last year – FS Investors bought the Upper Moutere property which has 61 hectares under hops. FS Investors is owned by US-based venture capitalist Michael Stone, who plans to supply New Zealand hops to US craft brewers.
This article was previously published on www.Beertown.NZ