Understanding effects of mealworm frass on downy mildew and Japanese beetles in hops production

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2019: $27,000.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2021
Grant Recipient: Jord Producers
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
Project Coordinator:
Kris Vrooman
Jord Producers

Information Products


  • Agronomic: hops
  • Animal Products: Mealworm frass


  • Crop Production: fertilizers, foliar feeding, organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal summary:

    Jord Producers and partner farmers will address a two-fold problem of finding a value-added market for mealworm frass being produced at the Jord Producers’ farms and improving production of hops crops on two Nebraska hops farms.  Pests including downy mildew and Japanese beetles can cause significant yield and quality loss for hops crops. Downy mildew is a major consistent problem for Nebraska hops growers. The chitin in insects is beneficial in stimulating a plant’s response to incite their own defense against pathogens and disease. As hops production in Nebraska, and the US, is quickly expanding to meet the market demand by niche brewers, growers are seeking natural, sustainable, effective, and economically viable methods to improve production. The team of farmers is seeking to evaluate the effectiveness of using frass in the hops industry for disease and pest prevention. If proven feasible, this could reduce dependence on synthetic fungicides and pesticides, improve hops production, and be a value-added by-product produced by Jord Producers’ mealworm farms.

    Project objectives from proposal:

      1. Explore application techniques, timing, and dosing for mealworm frass (3-2-2) on 2 hops farms during 2 growing seasons.
      2. Evaluate pests (including downy mildew, Japanese beetles), plant health, and yields compared to a control section of hops at the 2 farms.
      3. Share findings via summer scouting and growing workshops held in spring and summer of 2019 and 2020; at the 2020 Growers and Brewers Conference, and at the 2020 Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Health Farms Conference; on our websites; and via social media.



    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.