This year we are once again bringing you closer to the Hallertau with our entertaining HopUpdates video, produced directly on-site in the hop fields by our experts. With the HopUpdates, you will learn first-hand about plant development and the outlook for the new hop harvest.
The last HopUpdate was 4 weeks ago and I can already anticipate that a lot has happened since then. The hops have gained speed and grown well. Last time we were in a hop garden of Herkules, this time we see the variety Magnum. We are here in the municipality of Aiglsbach, which is in the center of the Hallertau region. The hops are now beginning to bloom. The inflorescence buds are slowly opening, and the first blooms are visible. Let's take a closer look in the hop garden.
The plants have reached trellis height. Exceptions are scattered locations of Perle, some Tradition or very few Polaris. Some of these have not quite made it to the top. With the beginning of blooming, hops stop their length growing. So anything that isn't at the top by now won't make it. But, as mentioned, these are very few exceptions; most of them have done really well now. You can find the first blooms, as you can see here. The inflorescence buds develop into flowers and these, in turn, into cones, which is what we are keen on.
The reason for the good recovery of hops was the weather. Among the farmers it is said: "July is the "Hopfaflicka" (≙ hop mender). This year the month has lived up to this name, it has actually mendered the hops really well. We have had a lot of precipitation. Within the last four weeks we have received twice as much rain than normally in this period. This has been very good for the hops, especially since the temperatures have not been very hot, but not cold either. There were perfect growing conditions. In the last HopUpdate, Stefan said that we have a bit of catching up to do because April and May were very cool. I can report now that we have managed to catch up. The hops are still 5-7 days behind the long-term average, but this should not be a problem. Expectedly, then the harvest will start a few days later, but all in all it does not hurt the hops.
At the moment we have good growing conditions. Diseases and pests are largely under control. Spider mites and aphids have been successfully controlled. The pressure of powdery mildew this year is fortunately not as big as in previous years. Currently, there is a spraying recommendation against downy mildew. The official advisory service in Hüll has set up spore traps and counts downy mildew spores daily. Now, the spores summed up so that a spraying recommendation has been issued, which growers will follow. So they will be applying widely measures over the next few days, as far as the soils allow. That is an important point to mention: The last weeks were a big challenge for the growers, because they hardly found a suitable time window to carry out the necessary plant protection treatments and other operations in the hop yard. Due to the large amount of rainfall, the gardens were only accessible for a short time at a time. This led to many night shifts for thegrowers,which they do gladly if the plants grow and they see a success. After all, nothing grows without water, so we are all glad about it and very pleased with the weather and the development. We are not yet making a crop estimate, it is too early for that.
The hops look good at the moment, but more precise forecasts will only be available at the next HopUpdate. In August, we are then close to the harvest and will know more by then!