Hop Products Australia sent over its harvest report which includes assumed yields for independent
Australian hop growers. Here are the results and some trends analysis.
In Tasmania, the season started well with strong plant emergence and plenty of bine growth during October and
November, that challenged our trainers. The average summer rainfall then fell across two days in December
which resulted in the soil temperature falling from 160C to 120C and Cascade and Enigma subsequently busting
into burr, well before normal. These varieties then failed to yield as expected.
In Victoria, the season also started well, but repetitive periods of heavy rainfall and wind proved challenging.
Harvest 2018 on HPA farms delivered a 10.4% year over year increase in yield of hops, however the result still
fell short of expectations. Yields of individual varieties varied widely, coming in between 3% and 24% under
budget. This result was consistent with reports from all growers in Australia this year.
Whilst the yield of hops was lower than expected both alpha acid and oil contents were consistent with long
term averages. Visitors to our farms this year did note some cone damage which was primarily a result of
repetitive wind events.
For crop 2018 the area harvested was 542.7 hectares, an increase of 21.7 hectares from crop 2017. Total yield
was 1,312,673 kgs, up from 1,188,801 kgs in 2017. A 4% increase in area harvested yielded a 10.4% increase
Most of this increase was from the harvest of newly established plantings of Galaxy™ and Vic Secret™.
Total crop 2018 yields are as follows:
Whilst crop 2018 came in 10% up on crop 2017, it was still approximately 10% short of expectation. The main
varieties that fell short of expected yields were Cascade, Enigma and Super Pride. Contracts on these varieties
required some minor negotiation, however contracts on all other varieties will be filled.
It should be noted, that given the highly contracted position of the 2018 harvest, and production shortfalls, only
a very limited volume of hops will be available on the spot market through HPA and the Barth-Haas Group.
The following graph presents the combined yields on HPA farms across the ten-year period from 2011 – 2020.
During years 2011 to 2015, HPA was busy replanting most of the available gardens on the existing farms. In
the years 2016 – 2018 HPA has invested in new land and planted accordingly, with these new areas set to
generate the increased yields presented for crops 2019-2020.
As we look toward crop 2019, the current global demand for HPA proprietary varieties continues, despite
some indicators of slowing segments in the important USA market.
Further to this we see Australian domestic consumption continuing to increase and domestic brewing
customers are encouraged to proactively communicate their changing requirements.
And in answer to a question we get asked a lot, we are planning the release of some new hop varieties. HPA
has focussed in recent years on eliminating some small volume varieties and increasing the production of the
craft brewers’ favourites. After years of agronomic assessment, and lots of trial brews, we are now poised to
release some new flavour forward varieties (yet to be named). We have thousands of plants in pots ready to be
planted in the spring and will be making announcements as these new varieties become available.