MU hops research plot has successful first season

Harvest is winding down at the University of Missouri hops research plot – one of several plots throughout the Midwest made possible by USDA research grants. Jim Quinn with MU Extension has planted a variety of cultivars in mid-April and there are some stand-outs, especially Columbus, “Chinook was quite good, Galena and Nuget are probably the top four that we’ve seen for this first year. As the plants get established, maybe this next coming year some of these other cultivars will do very well, too.”

Hop plants are perennials with at least a 20-year life span. He got his first round of plants from Michigan that he planted on a quarter acre at the MU Bradford Research Farm near Columbia, Missouri and is now planting 10 more from Iowa State University. Quinn says he’s paying attention to the research in other states as well, “Ohio, here in Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa State all have projects that were funded by the USDA specialty crop block grant. That’s who’s funding our project here and that’s through the Missouri Department of Agriculture. And then we also have a couple of other states that are more southern that might match a little bit our climate that we can grow parallels to and that’s West Virginia and North Carolina.”

There’s growing interest in the beer ingredient by craft brewers, so there’s a market for it, “I don’t think we’re going to be seeing acres and acres of hop fields, you know – replacing corn or soybeans, but there IS some acreage going in.”  He knows of a 20 acre plot in Nebraska and a large plot near Hermann, in Central Missouri.

Missouri is on the southern edge of the area of where hops would typically grow. He says they do like long days and lower humidity. Michigan is a leader in hops production in the Midwest. The bulk of the crop is grown in the Pacific Northwest states.

The third and final MU field day this year in the Hop Yard will be September 13th at the Bradford Research Farm:  2:00 pm field tour, 3 – 5 pm indoor presentations, followed by “Hoppy Hour” tasting of craft beers.

Audio: Interview with Jim Quinn. NOTE: Quinn mistakenly says “male” plants but meant to say “female”~


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