The annual USA acreage report is out and it is clear from the data that American growers are continuing to commit significant resources to meeting the demand for US aroma hops. While the data is still being compiled for regions outside of the Pacific Northwest, acreage strung for harvest increased in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho based on the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) report released last week. The pattern we’ve seen for several years continues as aroma acreage increased (up 22%) and alpha acreage (down 2%) decreased in the PNW.
According to the NASS report this is a record high acreage “at the US level, dating back to 1915.”
Cascade acreage strung for harvest increased 8% over 2015 and Centennial acreage increased 13%. Acreage of Citra®, Simcoe®, and Mosaic® increased 45% and now collectively represent 11,506 acres or almost 29% of the US aroma crop. The estimated capital investment at the grower level alone for the Citra®, Simcoe®, and Mosaic® acreage increase is more than $100 million dollars which underlines the significant commitment growers have to meeting the growing demands of the global craft market. Growers have also added more than 1,000 acres combined of HBC 366 (formerly known as Equinox®) and Loral® (formerly known as HBC 291) to meet current demand.
The growth of other proprietary aroma varieties other than Citra®, Simcoe®, and Mosaic® is significant also but quantifying the growth percentage on some of these varieties is challenging as acreage is reclassified out of the “other” category into their own variety category. As such it is difficult to establish an accurate starting point for calculating the percent change.
While we are still early in the season, the 2016 crop looks normal in most areas. A warmer than normal spring coupled with much better snowpack in the irrigated areas of production have been conducive to good growing conditions, especially for baby (first year) production. On the negative side, the warm spring has played havoc with training dates and growth has been uneven in some varieties and in some regions and there are reports of early bloom which could adversely affect yields.
We will keep you abreast of crop development trends as the season progresses. There is a long growing season ahead and much can happen, both good and bad, but the water situation is much improved over 2015 and growers are optimistic for a good 2016 crop.
*Simcoe® YCR 14 cv., Citra® YCR 394 cv., and Mosaic HBC 369 cv. are registered trademarks of Select Botanicals Group, LLC (Brand YCR) and/or Hop Breeding Company LLC (Brand HBC).