You probably haven’t noticed because you have a life outside the internet, unlike me, but throughout the month of March the Hop Growers of America has been dropping a lot of great science on its website. Overall, 2019 looks to be a busy year for the HGA. Just look at all the meetings the board of directors have. But most importantly, HGA’s big 2018 stat pack is here. The annual statistical report reveals great data compiled by the 2018 harvest for most U.S. acres. Data focuses heavily on the three main Pacific Northwest producing states — Washington, Oregon and Idaho — and the small percentage of crops farmed into 26 additional states outside of the Pacific Northwest. Here’s a taste of the info (taken from this report):
Commercial U.S. hop acreage was relatively stable this year, with just a slight increase in production and some notable changes from 2017.
Citra became the first proprietary hop to reach the highest acreage of all US-grown varieties.
Idaho surpassed Oregon in acreage as well as production.
A resurgence of alpha acreage represented 25.8 percent of the crop thanks to a 5.8 percent increase jump after years of downward trending acreage in that category of hops.
Average yields per acre also declined slightly to 1,943 lbs per acre from 2017’s yield of 1,956. This was likely a result of growing conditions and newly planted acreage combined.
Despite the slight decline in yields, 2018’s production still surpassed 2017’s by 910,200 lbs with the final 2018 count at 108,406,700 lbs.
HGA’s network of contacts across the country provided estimates for acreage and yields — this year the survey calculated an estimate of 2,433 acres outside of the PNW yielding 1,500,000 lbs.
Washington production represented 72.7 percent of the Pacific Northwest, followed by Idaho with 15.2 percent and Oregon with 12.1 percent.
The remaining 26 states reported commercial hop production on an estimated 2,433 acres.
Weather related challenges in several regions caused decreased yields, resulting in estimated total production of 1,500,000 lbs.
U.S. hop acreage has increased 94.6 percent, from 29,683 to 57,772 acres. During that period the variety balance shifted from roughly 50-50 alpha and aroma hops in 2012 to 80 percent aroma varieties in 2017. In 2018 new alpha variety acreage resulted in a reversal of this trend, with alpha now representing 25.8 percent of US acreage.