HPA 2019 hop harvest sees increased production

22 May, 2019 by Andy Young

Australia’s largest hop grower, Hop Products Australia (HPA) has completed its 2019 harvest and reported a 13 per cent year on year increase in production.

The harvest and production for this year means that HPA is able to meet its contractual obligations across all varieties. The production increase has been driven by the $20m expansion project that HPA concluded in 2017, with the maturation of these plantings increasing HPA’s total production by more than 100 per cent since 2014.

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The harvest is the 14th overseen my HPA’s Managing Director, Tim Lord, who said: “We are proud to work alongside breweries all over the world to help create flavour forward beer.

“Seeing such a significant investment come to fruition is extremely satisfying, particularly as we embark on an even bigger expansion project that will improve supply surety and increase varietal diversity to support our customers’ successes.”

This year’s harvest took five weeks to complete and saw HPA farm 589 hectares across three farms in Victoria and Tasmania, resulting in a total production volume of 1482 metric tonnes.

This included substantial increases across HPA’s proprietary hop varieties, with an 8.6 per cent increase in Galaxy, a 10.8 per cent increase in Vic Secret, and a 125 per cent increase in the newest proprietary hop variety Enigma.

HPA said that all three of its farms endured major weather events during the growing season.

The company said: “Our Victorian farms – Rostrevor Hop Gardens and Buffalo Valley – experienced extended periods of heatwave conditions through which our irrigation systems performed well, preventing impact on yield. Low rainfall and record overnight temperatures in March led to a slight delay in crop maturation compared to previous years.

“There is now 175 hectares of land under trellis at Buffalo Valley, 50 hectares of which will be harvested for the first time in 2020.

“Tasmania experienced widespread bushfires throughout January when the majority of the crop at Bushy Park Estates was still in burr. Although these conditions did not affect yield, they are indicative of the hot and dry conditions that characterised this season. Bushy Park Estates went without substantial rainfall from the end of December until the end of February, with daytime temperatures climbing above average.”

HPA said that because of its highly contracted position it only has a limited amount of hops available in the short-term. The company is also expanding its Buffalo Valley farm, with a $35m project to add 300 additional hectares and a new harvest complex, which is anticipated to increase its total hop production by 50 per cent over a period of six years.