Hops production has gotten more and more attention in Michigan as the crop is very suited for the area. To assist existing and new growers wanting to enter the industry a Hops Production 201 workshop will be held at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center in Benton Harbor, Aug. 7, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Heather Darby from the University of Vermont (UVM), who has been leading a USDA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative grant in partnership with Washington State University, Colorado State University and Michigan State University since 2009, is the keynote speaker. The goal of this grant is to develop agronomic recommendations for organic hops production for the Northeast. Much has changed since hops were last grown in the Northeast in the1800s, with many new disease resistant varieties available and a better understanding of pest lifecycles.
In August 2010, UVM Extension planted a hops variety trial at Borderview Farm in Alburgh, Vt. The UVM Extension hopyard is evaluating 19 widely available hop varieties. One goal of this project is to determine hop varieties that demonstrate disease and pest resistance in combination with high yields, and also present desirable characteristics to brewers. Another goal of the project is to develop outreach materials that will assist new growers with successfully growing hops. These materials include information on how to construct and maintain a hopyard, how to properly fertilize and how to identify and manage pests of hops.
Topics to be covered at the workshop in southwest Michigan include:
•How not to grow hops! Everything you need to know, so you don't screw it up – Heather Darby, University of Vermont
•Beyond 'Cascade' – hop varieties we should be considering for Michigan – Lynne Kemme, Great Lakes Hops
•Tracking irrigation – how much water is enough? – Ron Goldy, MSU University Extension
•Pest scouting in your hopyard – Erin Lizotte, MSU Extension
•Pesticides registered for hops in Michigan – Diane Brown, MSU Extension
•Hop cost of production estimates for new growers – Rob Sirrine, MSU Extension
•Constructing hop pickers, dryers and balers for small scale operations – Heather Darby, University of Vermont
Space is limited, so register early to avoid disappointment. The registration deadline is Aug. 2. Registration fee is $45 per person, which includes lunch, refreshments and handouts. Use the attached form to register. Make checks payable to Michigan State University.
Contact the Berrien County MSU Extension office at 269-944-4126 for additional information. Additional information on hops can be found online.