Hops

A top cutter makes its way through the hop yard at Cornerstone Ranches in Toppenish, Wash., during the 2018 harvest. U.S. hop production set a record in 2019.

YAKIMA, Wash. — U.S. hop production set a record high above 100 million pounds for the third year in a row in 2019, apparently continuing a reasonable balance between supply and demand.

At 112 million pounds, the crop was up 5%, according to a Dec. 18 report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

“In weeks leading up to harvest we anticipated a crop of around 115 million pounds as mature fields in particular looked very strong while we knew the babies (new plantings) looked a bit weak,” said Pete Mahony, vice president of supply chain and purchasing for John I. Haas, Inc., a leading hop producer in Yakima.

As harvest data came, it was evident cool spring temperatures took a greater toll on baby plantings than expected, Mahony said.

Production of 107 million pounds in 2018 was up 1% from 106 million pounds in 2017, which in turn was up 20% from 87 million pounds in 2016.

Washington produced 73% of the 2019 national crop at 82 million pounds, Idaho grew 15% at 17 million pounds and Oregon grew 12% at 13 million pounds, according to the NASS report.

Hop supply has increased because of tremendous growth in craft beer but the rate of that growth has been slowing.

“While acreage growth has recently slowed into low single-percentage digits, we do expect this smaller growth to be sustainable in the near term to keep supply in relative balance with brewing demand that has also slowed but is still growing,” Mahony said.

It’s encouraging to see some demand momentum overseas for U.S. varieties, he said.

Total acres harvested was 56,544 with 40,880 of that in Washington, 8,358 in Idaho and 7,306 in Oregon.

Acreage has been increasing since 2012 when it was at 29,683. It declined to that from 40,898 in 2008. Avoiding over supply can be difficult since it takes a couple years for new plantings to produce.

Total value of 2019 production was $637 million, up 9% from the prior year, the report stated. Of that, Washington was $475 million, Idaho was $89 million and Oregon was $72 million.

Average price per pound was $5.80 in Washington, $5.50 in Oregon and $5.25 in Idaho.

Citra, Cascade, Zeus, Simcoe, C/T/Z and Mosaic were the six leading varieties in Washington in 2019, accounting for 50% of production, the NASS report shows.

In Idaho, C/T/Z, Mosaic, Chinook, Zeus, Citra and Casade made up 65% of production. In Oregon, Nugget, Cascade, Citra and Willamette were 50% of production.

The average yield per acre was 2,034 pounds in Idaho, 2,006 in Washington and 1,783 in Oregon.

The 64th annual American Hop Convention will be in Portland on Jan. 22-24.

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