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New Zealand Hops Ltd

Crop Report and Industry Update April 2018

The New Zealand Hop Cooperatives’ production volume for 2018 totalled 721,959 kilograms including 17,456 kilograms as certified organics with the mix of cultivars grown comprising seventeen unique New Zealand varieties, six northern types and four trial hops (Table #1). Harvesting commenced mid-February with early varieties such as Pacifica and Taiheke being the first bales received into store and was completed for the most part by the end of March.

Major weather events dominated much of the growing conditions and while New Zealand is considered to be only moderately impacted by the El Niño/La Niña-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), during this year’s growing season the Tasman District certainly experienced the extreme end of what these systems can develop. Several compounding factors including a number of severe storm events made for a very challenging growing season. A very wet winter was followed by an equally wet spring which made ground preparation problematic, especially on the heavier soil types. This brought on delays in new plantings and the demanding conditions had a significant impact on yields, especially on the “baby” hops which were to make up a large proportion of the season’s crop. When the summer finally arrived it brought with it a heat wave and some varieties responded negatively to the extended hot and dry conditions by setting flower before the plants had fully developed their lateral branching and framework. During February Ex tropical cyclones Fehi and Gita brought with them record levels of rainfall which caused major flooding and extensive damage to the region, fortunately though the gale force winds that were predicted did not arrive.

The visual result displayed the resilience of the hop plant as there had still been generous cone development in the run up to autumn. The reality was however that once weighed into store the growers had produced a much lighter crop than expected. This was very disappointing given that the response to increased market demand had been both an increase in grower numbers and the total area under production, up ninety hectares on last season. This has required a large investment in new plantings and facilities and the expectations were that this would increase total hop production in 2018 significantly. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be this year and with the harvest complete only 5,759 bales were received into store, a decrease of 458 bales on the 2017 result.

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New Zealand Hops Ltd

Crop Report and Industry Update April 2017

The New Zealand Hop Industry production volume for 2017 totalled 760,529 kilograms including 20,705 kilograms as certified organics with the mix of cultivars grown comprising seventeen unique New Zealand varieties as well as six northern types (Table #1). Harvesting commenced under blue skies in mid-February amidst Indian summer conditions with early varieties such as Pacifica and Taiheke being the first bales received into store.

For reasons unknown, which is often the case when it comes to growing hops, plant behaviour varied considerably during picking this season requiring growers to respond quickly to ensure all varieties were picked at peak maturity. There were instances where varieties were maturing outside of their usual harvest window which can create operational challenges given that gardens are designed and laid out to achieve a staged picking order. Putting this aside, the harvest ran generally to plan and the weather conditions were mostly ideal with minor rain fall occurring in mid-March creating only minimal impact on harvest operations.

The growing season itself was far from optimum being strongly influenced by the La Niña condition’s which brought about an extremely wet spring and cool summer. Prolonged periods of low pressure persisted throughout the summer which also brought with it cold westerly winds with strong gusts which damaged plantings in most areas and impacted lateral development significantly across the district. These unfavourable conditions and severe wind events caused slow growth and breakages, creating very open gardens which developed columnar plants with only light burr with grower predictions mid-summer of a dire outcome for the crop. Fortunately toward the end of summer and with the approach of autumn the wind abated and with improved warmer conditions the plants responded by filling out marginally and displaying a semblance of a crop. Harvest proceeded quickly and without incident with most growers finished picking prior to the start of April with the resulting crop weighing in below production estimates in all but a few varieties. When completed a total 6,217 bales (a decrease of 188 bales on 2016) were received into New Zealand Hops Limited cold storage and processing facility in Appleby.

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The 2016 New Zealand Hop Harvest was completed in early April having started in mid-February.

By Doug Donelan

The New Zealand Hop Industry production volume for 2016 was 794,017 kilograms comprising 16 unique New Zealand varieties and 8 northern types with a mix of these totalling 25,220 kilograms produced as certified organics. (Table #1). Harvesting commenced in mid-February with the northern varieties, Golding and Fuggle followed by the early maturing New Zealand variety Pacifica. Hop grower’s harvest several varieties throughout the season and plantings are such that picking can be scheduled as the individual varieties reach maturity within specific harvest windows. The weather conditions during the harvest were for the most part ideal, although some severe winds and torrential rains did occur mid-way with detrimental effects on mid-season varieties in some regions. A garden was brought down under the weight of the drenched bines, compounded further by a battering of gale force winds. In most areas string breakages created issues with plants needing to be re-fixed to the wire work.

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The 2015 New Zealand Hop Harvest was completed in the first week of April having started in the second week of February.

By Doug Donelan

The New Zealand Hop harvest commenced this season with the traditional northern types of Fuggle and Styrian Golding arriving into store in the second week of February. Early New Zealand varieties such as Pacifica and Motueka commenced soon after with all picking operations in full swing by the start of March and concluding with the final bales of the later varieties Rakau and Green bullet weighed across into cold storage by early April. During the growing season the spring was unseasonably cold, especially the overnight temperatures, which held the plants back considerably and slowed development until well into November. The region's famous summer finally arrived with the New Year and it persisted solidly throughout, right up till and into April. It brought with it long sunny days with plenty of heat units all interspersed with good levels of warm coastal rain.

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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.

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The 2013 New Zealand Hop Harvest was completed at the end of March having started in the mid February.

By Doug Donelan

The New Zealand Hop Industry 2013 crop production volume was 682,500 kilograms made up from 15 unique New Zealand varieties, 8 traditional northern varieties with a mix of varieties produced under certified organics. (See crop report table accompanying this release for rounded volumes and variety mix).

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Many people would be aware that New Zealand has been isolated from the rest of the world until relatively recent times. What the visitor sees is an abundance of unspoilt natural beauty and picture-postcard scenery.

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