The 2017 hop harvest collected 761 tonnes, 4.3% down on last year’s crop. A total of 442 hectares was harvested, an increase of 30 hectares from the 2016 harvest.
NZ Hops chief executive Doug Donelan said poor growing conditions affected the harvest.
“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. These unfavourable conditions and severe wind events caused slow growth and breakages. Yield performance in all but a few varieties was below average and attributable to the unfavourable weather conditions.”
Doug says the popular Nelson Sauvin variety was hardest hit. “The varieties that performed well despite the conditions were Motueka, Wai-iti, Taiheke, Kohatu and Southern Cross. The Nelson Sauvin variety did not fare well in the windy conditions suffering from lateral breakages and diminished cone development while the Riwaka variety also performed well below average having been severely impacted by several weather variables during the growing season.”
Nelson Sauvin remains our top variety, with 185t harvested followed by Motueka (142t) and Wakatu (68t). New Zealand varieties made up 734t of the 2017 harvest.
Doug reports there are 18 hop growers, no change on last year. One hop farm left the NZ Hops co-operative last year - FS Investors bought the Upper Moutere property which has 61 hectares under hops. FS Investors is owned by US-based venture capitalist Michael Stone, who plans to supply New Zealand hops to US craft brewers.