New England is home to over 175 high quality microbreweries. Public interest in sourcing local foods is extending into beverages, and the current demand for local and organic brewing ingredients is quickly increasing. The demand for locally sourced hops has reached the farming community resulting in a sharp increase in hop producers from six in 2009 to over twenty two in 2011. All of the growers in the Northeast are novices at growing hops and are turning to Extension for help and guidance. In 2011 hop producers in the region started to report serious insect pressure and damage to crop quality and yield. To avoid insect pressure putting a quick end to this fledgling industry, research and outreach began this 2012 field season and must continue into a second year for accurate integrated pest management (IPM) specific to our region. Intercrops including a flowering red clover treatment and a more diverse red clover plus three additional species of herbaceous perennials are currently established at Borderview Farm in Alburgh, VT. Beneficial and pest arthropods will be documented as well as intercrop development, hop yield, and hop quality.
Project objectives from proposal:
The overarching goal of this project is to provide hop growers with adequate and accurate pest management knowledge. In the second year of this project we are channeling energy and resources into fulfilling the following objectives.
1. Identify major pest and natural enemy arthropods in Northeastern hops at Borderview Farm research hopyard in Alburgh, VT.
2. Work collaboratively with growers to identify pest and natural enemy arthropods in their hopyards through on-farm visits and hop field days.
3. Assess intercropping as a method of integrated pest management through the addition of flowering plant species between hop rows.
4. Create outreach materials to help farmers adopt IPM practices including the "What's Hoppening?" blog, the Vermont Hops Project website, and the creation of a Northeast Hop Pest and Natural Enemy Quick Reference for in-field use as an accompaniment to the 2012 Northeast Hop Pest and Natural Enemy Guide currently in progress.