As we near the beginning of hop harvest 2021, growers, brewers, and dealers anxiously wait to see how this crop will fare. In late June, a record-setting heatwave made its way through the Pacific Northwest. The Yakima Valley, and other growing regions in the PNW, saw the effects of this heat on many crops, including hops.
Damage from the heat depended on variety, age of the plant, and location. Some vines experienced desiccations in the upper third of the plant, which can affect final vine structure and bloom. Baby plantings were also negatively impacted. Hops do have an amazing ability to respond to climate stressors, and we are currently seeing damaged areas recovering to a degree. The Yakima Valley has a full irrigation water supply this year which has helped tremendously to mitigate the damage.
As we approach harvest, a few specifics below on varieties that are important to CLS Farms:
Centennials are tracking for a very normal crop yield-wise for CLS. Although the heat in the Yakima Valley has been intense the last 30 days, Centennials at CLS handled the excess heat in late June and July well, allowing them to finish out their canopy growth. We observed some localized damage to certain Centennial fields, but all in all, Centennials proved to handle the heat cycle well for us.
We are seeing a slight delay in bloom timing as the plants have had a lengthened vegetative response to the heat. This will most likely result in delayed maturity at harvest requiring us to push harvest out a few days later than normal. As Centennials move from bloom to cone out, we will have a clearer picture of final yield and harvest maturity.
El Dorado® looks strong this year and responded well to this year's heat and dryness. Most of the El Dorado® fields show strong canopy development, although some localized fields did suffer some damage from the heat. El Dorado® is currently in heavy bloom right now, which is normal timing. As for powdery mildew and other pest levels, they are very low. A recent trip to the Idaho growing regions showed that region looking strong as well. Currently, expectations are for an above-average yield in El Dorado® with minimal disease and pest issues.
Cashmere was impacted significantly by the heat. The terminal ends of the apical dominant vines stopped growing completely, resulting in less canopy development. Cashmere is a very aggressive growing variety, and we are seeing some decent levels of recovering happening on the second, third and fourth vines up the string which are helping to fill in the canopy. While damage did happen, it appears that with some recovery, Cashmere will be able to come in only slightly under our previous estimate.
Other varieties showed some levels of damage as well, and while significant recovery is occurring, there will be some yield reduction depending on variety and location. While this is what we see now, we are entering the very important phase of moving from bloom to cone development. Proper temperatures are critical in this time frame. As we approach harvest we will provide another update on final projections for crop 2021.
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