Hops production in NZ slumps by 10 percent

The New Zealand Hops co-operative says its 18 growers, which are in the Nelson region, produced about 750 tonnes of hops, which was 33 tonnes less than the year before.

Chief executive Doug Donelan said the weather had not been right since spring.

“The growing season wasn’t very good. We had a cold summer and prior to that during the early stages it was a very wet spring. The two things you really don’t want when you’re growing hops.”

Mr Donelan said some varieties were hit harder than others.

“We were down 30 percent on some varieties, but overall it was probably down about 10 percent on the previous year… that came off increasing acreage so we actually had more plants in the ground and produced less hops.”

The co-operative is working to increase the production of hops and wants to grow total volume by 30 percent to about 1100 tonnes.

New Zealand hop growers investing $20m in the expanding industry

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Kiwi hop growers are expected to invest $20m into an expanding industry in the next three years, as it responds to surging global demand for craft beer ingredients.

The growth of craft beer has transformed the niche industry, which has 19 New Zealand growers.

Last year, trade reportedly delivered around $20m a year in turnover and $14m a year in export returns.

The grower-owned cooperative harvested about 750 tonnes from 389 hectares in 2015.

About 85 per cent of the hops, which are largely grown in the Motueka and Riwaka areas west of Nelson, are exported. (full story)

Craft brewing transforms NZ hop industry

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Fourth generation Nelson grower Brent McGlashen of Mac Hops says the industry is unrecognisable from 10 years ago.

“We had only a handful of customers, now it’s in the hundreds which has really helped because things weren’t looking too good. Hops were a commodity where the big brewers thought they could turn up and offer a price – that’s changed around,” McGlashen said.

Fourth generation Nelson grower Brent McGlashen of Mac Hops says the industry is unrecognisable from 10 years ago.

“We had only a handful of customers, now it’s in the hundreds which has really helped because things weren’t looking too good. Hops were a commodity where the big brewers thought they could turn up and offer a price – that’s changed around,” McGlashen said. (full story)

2015 New Zealand Hop Harvest

2014-03-10 10.30.47The 2015 New Zealand Hop Harvest was completed in the first week of April having started in the second week of February.

By Doug Donelan

The New Zealand Hop harvest commenced this season with the traditional northern types of Fuggle and Styrian Golding arriving into store in the second week of February. Early New Zealand varieties such as Pacifica and Motueka commenced soon after with all picking operations in full swing by the start of March and concluding with the final bales of the later varieties Rakau and Green bullet weighed across into cold storage by early April. During the growing season the spring was unseasonably cold, especially the overnight temperatures, which held the plants back considerably and slowed development until well into November. The region’s famous summer finally arrived with the New Year and it persisted solidly throughout, right up till and into April. It brought with it long sunny days with plenty of heat units all interspersed with good levels of warm coastal rain.

By the time harvest arrived most of the districts plants had developed into what appeared to be an above average crop but one that finished only slightly ahead of grower production estimates. The weather conditions during harvest were for the most part ideal, although some severe northerly winds and torrential rains did occur mid-point as part of the aftermath of category 5 tropical cyclone Pam which did impact harvesting in some gardens.

First year Riwaka hops grown at Mac Hops farm in Motueka
First year Riwaka hops grown at Mac Hops farm in Motueka

Main Harvest Points:

  • Farm structure for the 2015 harvest remained at 17 grower / shareholders (including a joint venture) all supplying hops through the cooperatively owned company of New Zealand Hops Limited.
  • Cultivation continues to be dominated by designated aroma/flavour varieties at 328 Hectares while Alpha designated production continued to fall to 60 Hectares. An overall total of 389 Hectares was harvested which is an increase of 19 hectares from the 2014 harvest (370 Ha)
  • Total volume harvested was 739,620 kilograms (Table # 1) which is a decrease of 24, 949 kilograms on the 2014 harvest (764,569 kg). Aroma / flavour designated hops accounted for 605,668 kilograms with alpha designated varieties at 133,952 kilograms.
  • The average alpha acid was 9.5 % with the highest commercial variety being Waimea at 15 .5 % and the lowest being Wai-iti at 3.1 %.
  • Selections and grade standard assessments scored well above the average with growers delivering hops of an exceptional standard…5,948 bales were received into the New Zealand Hops Limited new cold storage facility on Blackbyre Road Appleby.
  • A highlight once again of harvest was the industry’s green hop programme operated under an expanded model this year which saw NZ Cascade, Motueka and Nelson Sauvin distributed to 35 brewers throughout the main centres and supporting several green hop beer events and seasonal releases.

Hop Bale 2015Market position:

  • The 2015 crop was approximately 95 % sold prior to harvest with a post harvest view that the total crop will be sold prior to the 2016 harvest.
  • Spot availability continues to be limited under the current market demand for New Zealand Hops and specialty hops in general internationally.
  • As has been stated in previous reports acreage will continue to expand against a landscape of sustainable pricing and forward contracts, however as the total international market continues to grow it is unlikely that the New Zealand Industry will advance past its current world crop contribution of less than 1.0 %
  • Currently a continued programme on farm of switching out of varieties is seeing modest increases in acreages while volumes remain reasonably static. A point will occur when the variety balance will be met and then both acreage and volume will commence to track upward together.
First year Riwaka hops grown at Mac Hops farm in Motueka
First year Riwaka hops grown at Mac Hops farm in Motueka

Industry outlook:

  • Research and development will continue to be a major focus of the industry through our research partnership with New Zealand Plant and Food Research. Plant breeding remains at the forefront of the programme and several new selections were identified as “of interest” during this season.
  • A pilot brewing plant was also commissioned during the season and several of the new selections have been earmarked for pilot brewing trials through our own system as well as some larger scale trials through commercial partners.
  • Identification of hops with unique flavour profiles and brewing characteristics for commercialisation run at the heart of the programme however agronomics such as yield and in particular establishing a broader future picking window are key to our future varietal selections.
New Zealand Varieties Quantity Northern Varieties Quantity
(Kg) (Kg)
Nelson Sauvin 165,760 Cascade 31,500
Wakatu 126,730 Fuggle 1,820
Motueka 103,310 Styrian Golding 1,670
Green Bullet 41,380 Willamette 540
Pacific Gem 38,840 Other 3,520
Pacific Jade 34,250
Pacifica 33,000 Total Northern Varieties 39,050
Dr Rudi 30,550
Rakau 29,860
Southern Cross 22,400 Organic Varieties Quantity
Waimea 20,700 (Kg)
Wai-iti 10,600
Riwaka 9,100 Wakatu 6,320
Kohatu 8,490 Cascade 4,520
Sticklebract 3,300 Nelson Sauvin 4,290
Brewing Trials 1,700 Pacific Gem 2,700
Rakau 1,840
Motueka 930
Total NZ Varieties 679,970
Total Organic 20,600
Harvest Total 739,620

Please direct further enquires to nzhops@nzhops.co.nz  typing “Media Release” as the subject.