Hops are a recently revitalized crop in Ohio. Hop production in the state has increased over the past decade in response to rapid growth in the craft brewing industry and interest in “knowing your farmer” and local food systems. However, Ohio farmers face multiple challenges to sustainable hop production, including growing conditions. One such challenge is day length during the growing season, which is shorter than the most productive hop producing regions of the U.S. Day length is an important factor in flowering timing for hops, which is a major factor determining yield.
This project will install and measure the impacts of a lighting system to extend the photoperiod for hops. The goal is to improve the pre-flowering vegetative growth of the plants in order to increase yields and hop quality in a manner that does not rely on increasing amounts of synthetic fertilizers. Increasing use of fertilizer and water are the traditional methods used to enhance vegetative growth. In addition to promoting more ecologically sound methods of improving yields, the goal of this system is to improve the long-term economic sustainability of hop production in the region.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Evaluate the installation and operational costs of an LED lighting system for photoperiod extension in commercial-scale hops production;
- Evaluate the production and economic effects of an LED lighting system for photoperiod extension in commercial-scale hops production; and
- Share findings with other producers and Extension professionals through a field day, social media outreach, a summary video, and a conference presentation.