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In The Hop Yard

Hopyard is a term frequently used to describe a farm that produces hops on a commercial scale, which are typically used in the brewing industry. Hops are a perennial plant with an aggressive growth habit that require good growing conditions if maximum yields are to be expected. Hop plants grow best in fertile well-drained land, receiving high annual levels of sunlight, in a location with good air circulation and a relatively dry climate.

Under ideal growing conditions a hop plant can produce for 25 years or more. The development of a hop yard requires an investment into land, equipment, irrigation systems, hop plants and a trellis support system. Hop plants will reach production maturity in 3 to 5 years; this is when hop crop returns are maximized.

With establishment costs for a single acre being approximately $15,000 CND, there are a few things potential growers might want to consider before hand:

  • Speak with some local hop grower in your local area to see which culitvars (varieties) are growing well in the region
  • Examine results of available regional hop research variety trials
  • Talk to local brewers to find out their preferences/requirements for hop cultivars
  • Look for rhizome suppliers; be sure to look for quality root-stock (it should be healthy and disease-free)
  • Plant a some trial rhizomes on the proposed land before comitting to a large purchase
  • Choose cultivars that have characteristics suitable for your geographical region and soil type
  • Plant varieties that will mature at different times to make harvesting easier (ex. early, mid and late harvest)

For more information on the different inputs needed on a hopfarm, please visit our pest, weed and soil management pages, as well as our resource page which provides helpful links and book suggestions.

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