2014 Harvest Info

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The 2014 New Zealand Hop Harvest was completed in the first week of April having started in the last week of February.

By Doug Donelan

The New Zealand Hop Harvest commenced in the last week of February and was completed with all growers bales weighed across into the Appleby store by the first week of April. Typically there is little variation in harvest dates and this year was no exception. The growing season which commences with the hops emerging from the ground in early spring was a fairly text book affair with excellent summer growing conditions, interspersed with timely rainfalls and still conditions persisting throughout from November up until the end of harvest.

New Zealand’s’ geographical position sees it impacted by the southern oscillation and the effects of both El Niña and El Niño variations. The 2013 growing season was El Niña neutral in New Zealand which meant warmer tropical airflows from the north eastern and western pacific brought about warm and dry conditions for most of the country which in some parts were the warmest on record.

Everything didn’t go the growers way though and as March was drawing toward a close with about three quarters of the crop harvested tropical cyclone Luci appeared out of the Pacific Islands and slowly made her way south bringing high winds and heavy rainfall with her to the Nelson Region. Fortunately the storm departed quickly leaving minimal damage in its wake and although rainfall is generally considered a good thing, high volumes over a short period with harvest still to be completed was seen as a hindrance for growers.

Main Harvest Points

  • Farm structure in the New Zealand Hop Industry remained unchanged from the 2013 season with 17 grower / shareholder (including two joint ventures) supplying hops through the cooperatively owned company of New Zealand Hops Limited.
  • Cultivation continued to be dominated by aroma / flavour varieties with 288 Hectares while Alpha variety production continued to fall to total 82 Hectares.
  • Total volume harvested was 764,568 kilograms which is an increase of approx 82,000 kilograms on the 2013 harvest (682,499 kg)
  • Average alpha was approx 10 % with the highest being the Waimea variety with an average of 17.9 % alpha and the lowest being the Wai-iti variety with an average alpha of 4 %.
  • The 2013 growing season was El Nina neutral in New Zealand which meant warmer tropical airflows from the north eastern and western pacific brought about warm and dry conditions for most of the country. Good levels of warm rainfall throughout the spring and summer ensured a good season although final results were only average yield and alpha levels.
  • The 2014 crop was 95 % sold prior to harvest with subsequent sales projected to see the crop fully sold prior to the 2015 harvest.
  • Forward sales account for 90 % of 2015 crop with forward contracts written out to 2018.
  • Spot production will remain limited under the current market situation and demand scenarios for New Zealand hop varieties. Acreage will continue to expand to keep pace with the market however it is unlikely that the New Zealand Industry will develop much in advance of its current level of world crop contribution with is approx 0.7 %.
  • Current replanting and switching out of varieties see’s acreage increases while volumes remain comparatively static. This is a result of (generally) aroma varieties yielding less than the high alpha types, in effect it takes more land to grow the same volume of aroma hops.


New Zealand Varieties Quantity   Northern Varieties Quantity
  (Kg)     (Kg)
Wakatu 265,000   Cascade 25,000
Nelson Sauvin 143,000   Fuggle 1,300
Motueka 68,000   Styrian Golding 1,100
Green Bullet 41,000   Willamette 1,100
Pacific Gem 39,000   Other 1,100
Dr Rudi 31,000      
Pacific Jade 29,000   Total Northern Varieties 29,600
Pacifica 28,000      
Rakau 18,000      
Southern Cross 18,000   Organic Varieties Quantity
Waimea 15,000     (Kg)
Riwaka 7,000      
Kohatu 6,000   Wakatu 6,000
Wai-iti 5,000   Cascade 5,000
Sticklebract 3,000   Nelson Sauvin 3,800
Brewing Trials 650   Pacific Gem 2,200
      Rakau 1,400
      Motueka 800
Total NZ Varieties 716,650      
      Total Organic 19,200
      Harvest Total 765,450