Optimal Hop Harvest Timing

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2018: $12,005.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2020
Grant Recipient: Ohio Valley Hops
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:
David Volkman
Ohio Valley Hops LLC


  • Agronomic: hops


  • Crop Production: food processing, food product quality/safety, postharvest treatment

    Proposal summary:

    We will determine the optimal harvest time of ten popular hop varieties in Ohio.

    Hop farming is growing in Midwestern agriculture, composed of many small farmers. As craft brewing has grown, so has demand for ingredients. Brewers express strong desire for local hops, but demand quality that meets industry standards for chemistry and excellent aroma and flavor. Much of this is determined by growing practices, particularly harvest timing. Hops have an optimal harvest time, and exhibit noticeable increase, peak and decrease of chemical components that affect crop quality. Large commercial growers in the Pacific Northwest (with decades of experience and scientific staffs) know these optimal harvest windows, but it’s proprietary information, unknown to Midwestern growers, and may vary by region, even if we had their data. Those growers acknowledge harvest ranges from 18% to 26% dry matter content, unique to each variety. Determining what those numbers are for leading varieties here will greatly improve the economic viability of this high value specialty crop by ensuring the highest quality and therefore most competitive hop. As growers gain required knowledge and experience, quality, demand and profit will increase.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Determine the optimal harvest timing of ten of the most most popular hop varieties grown in
    2. Share findings widely with other growers across the Midwest and Northeast through website, social media and conference
    3. Share findings with the Ohio Craft Brewers Association to promote advances in quality, and encourage other state’s growers to do the same with their affiliated brewers
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.