The 2015 hop harvest was slightly smaller than in 2014, as growers continue to switch to lower-yield aroma/flavour varieties.
740 tonnes of hops were harvested in the 2015, a three per cent decline on 2014. Aroma/flavour hops accounted for 606 tonnes, while Alpha-designated bittering varieties produced 134 tonnes, New Zealand Hops Chief Executive Doug Donelan said. The 2015 crop was approximately 95% sold prior to harvest, with the remainder expected to be sold by the 2016 harvest.
The area of land devoted to hops increased slightly. “An overall total of 389 hectares was harvested, an increase of 19ha from the 2014 harvest (370ha). Cultivation continues to be dominated by aroma/flavour varieties at 328ha, while Alpha-designated production continued to fall to 60ha.” There were 17 hop growers this year, the same as in 2014.
Harvesting started with the northern varieties Fuggle and Styrian Golding 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 Rakau and Green Bullet by early April.
2015 hop fun facts:
- The average alpha acid was 9.5% with the highest commercial variety being Waimea at 15.5% and the lowest being Wai-iti at 3.1%.
- The most prolific variety was Nelson Sauvin (166 tonnes), followed by Wakatu (127 tonnes) and Motueka (103 tonnes).
- Organic varieties made up 20.6 tonnes of the 2015 crop (2.8%).
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