There are still two full months before the early hop varieties are harvested in the Pacific Northwest, but the crop appears to be developing well in most areas. Reservoirs and snow pack are adequate in the irrigated areas, so water is not a challenge like it was in 2015. The lingering snow in Idaho and Washington delayed farmers getting onto their land, but planting was accomplished in a timely manner and baby hops look good for the most part. Washington and Idaho have experienced hot temperatures in early July which could affect bloom set. In Oregon, the spring weather was unsettled but the state is now experiencing nearly ideal hop growing weather.
There were 3,200 more acres planted in the PNW, almost half of which was planted in Idaho. Cascade and Nugget acreage is down while Citra®, Chinook, and Centennial were the most planted varieties in 2017.
There is a long time to go before harvest, but it appears the Citra bines have adequate growth in all areas to support a good crop. Chinook looks exceptionally well in Idaho, although a big bine is not always a good thing for this variety which can be difficult to pick. CTZ look very good in Idaho also.
Cascades look very spotty in all areas. There is widespread early bloom, but also some very good looking Cascades for this time of year. There is time to catch up, but I would expect the Cascade crop to be off this year.
Oregon appears to have avoided the split bloom in Centennials this year which has caused the crop to be off the past few years. Washington Centennials appear to be average to good so far.
We’ll have more as the crop develops and we get past the bloom stage.