Hop Crop Update July 27, 2023
Welcome to the July 27, 2023 crop update where we will cover the results and progress of the first few months of the hop growing season across the USA, Europe, and Canada.
USA Crop Update
The growing season in the USA started out slow in April and May due to a cool and wet spring. It’s been warm and dry and the crop development has caught up to normal emergence, plant development, and cone counts. The good news is that there was a strong snowpack built up over the winter in 2023 that will provide our growers with ample water supply for irrigation. Pest presence & disease pressure is normal at this point. Crop yield & quality looks to be well within range for most varieties as of the date of this update and everything seems to be tracking well.
USDA Acreage Survey
The biggest 2023 news comes in the acreage reductions that were made across the US hop-growing industry. These reductions have been well reported by the US Department of Agriculture. Here are some of the takeaways from their acreage survey conducted in June 2023:
“Hop acreage for the 2023 harvest in the U.S.A. declined by 5,067 net acres. That could result in an estimated 9,100,000 fewer pounds harvested vs. the 2022 crop. This is a 9% overall acreage cut from the 2022 crop with most of the acreage being cut from aroma varieties like Citra, Mosaic, Azacca, El Dorado, Sabro & Strata.”
It is important to remember for the remaining acreage for the 2023 crop, 3,900 of them are “new acres” growing baby crops for the 2023 harvest. These are hop fields that are being replanted with a new variety and produce roughly a 50% yield in the first year compared to a mature hop field. With these new acres, we can predict another 3,500,000 lbs reduced from the 2023 crop versus the 2022 crop.
These acreage cuts across the aroma varieties represent a large correction in the hop market after many years of consistent and large growth across the craft beer industry. With these reductions, we will see a more balanced hop market with the spot market becoming tighter again across most varieties and more of an emphasis and importance on forward contracting.
European Crop Update
Across European hop-growing regions, precipitation levels observed in June and July fell significantly below the long-term average, resulting in very arid soil conditions. The water scarcity is visibly impacting the hops, leading to severe restrictions in the development of side shoots. The plants exhibit a notable slimness and pointed appearance. At this time, all varieties in the German hop fields are well below average plant progression at the end of July.
The extremely dry and hot 2023 growing season comes on the heels of a very poor 2022 crop where we saw total yields and alpha acid production down roughly 35% over long-term averages. We are extremely focused on the weather in Germany as another low yield could cause many issues for European hop supply, especially for brewers and merchants that haven’t lined up appropriate supply contracts. We suggest you reach out to your Hops Connect Canada sales rep as soon as possible so we can help meet your brewery’s needs for European hops. Let’s take a look at the weather patterns so far in the Hallertau region in Germany. Notice the recent absence of precipitation when the plants need it most. As a reminder: only 30% of all hop fields in Europe have access to irrigation.
2023 Temperature vs 10-year average in Hallertau, Germany
2023 Precipitation vs 10-year average in Hallertau, Germany
Drought Map in Germany
Canadian Crop Update
This growing season brings us our sixth commercial harvest for Sasquatch® Farms in Leamington, Ontario. Overall it has been a very good growing season which is welcome after a lighter harvest for the 2022 crop due to a wet growing season.
The transition from buds to cones is just starting which is always an exciting time as this signifies that we are roughly 4-5 weeks from harvest. We are excited to invite Canadian brewers from all corners of the country to our annual Sasquatch® Farms Harvest party where we give our great customers the chance to experience a commercial hop harvest while sipping on some great beers. Brewers are welcome to pick up fresh hops at the farm as well, we just ask for notice in advance!