It took me a second to notice, but the Hop Growers of America quietly dropped its annual stat pack onto its website in late January. This year’s statistical report reveals some important data compiled about the 2020 hop harvest. 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 increased another 3.73 percent in 2020, although total production fell below the 2019 crop by 7.29 percent.
- Citra, HBC 394 widened its lead as the U.S. hop acreage leader, while CTZ retained the No. 2 spot. Cascade fell to fifth place as Mosaic, HBC 369 and Simcoe , YCR 14 took over the third and fourth place slots. Proprietary hop varieties now account for six of the top 10 acreage slots.
- Average yields in the Pacific Northwest fell to 1,770 lbs per acre due to severe weather challenges and heavy smoke cover during harvest, while most production regions outside of the PNW experienced average or better yields. Washington was hardest hit with a 12.56 percent yield reduction from 2019, followed by Idaho with 8.8 percent lower yields than last year.
- A severe storm on Labor Day brought sustained high winds, breaking many bines from the trellis and desiccating the ripe hop cones. Serious wildfires erupted as a result of this storm, blanketing much of the Pacific Northwest with heavy overcast skies and sending hop plants into early dormancy due to the lack of sunlight — causing dry cones that saw higher levels of shatter as harvest progressed. Varieties harvested prior to Labor Day had good quality and yields, but late harvested varieties experienced severe yield loss.
- 2020’s production decreased to 104.8 million lbs, which includes an estimate for farms not counted by USDA-NASS. NASS only surveys the PNW — Washington, Oregon and Idaho — as they grow the majority of the US crop and are the modern traditional home of the US commercial hop industry.
- HGA’s network of contacts across the country provided estimates for acreage and yields. This year the survey calculated an estimate of 2,488 acres outside of the PNW yielding 1,000,000 lbs.
- Washington production represented 71.4 percent of the Pacific Northwest, followed by Idaho with 16.6 percent and Oregon with 12 percent. The remaining states commercial hop production is estimated at 1 million lbs. These states saw the loss of a number of small growers this year as local breweries reeled from the impacts of COVID impacts to on-premise sales, impacting demand for locally produced hops.
- Since 2012 (nine years) U.S. hop acreage has increased 106 percent, from 29,683 to 61,130 acres. During that period the variety balance shifted from roughly 50-50 alpha and aroma hops in 2012 to 77.8 percent aroma varieties in 2020. In 2020 alpha/bitter hop varieties represented 22.2 percent of U.S. acreage.
Those are just a few nuggets. Read more right over here.