- Agronomic: hops
- Education and Training: farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research
- Production Systems: general crop production
- Soil Management: soil analysis
- Sustainable Communities: infrastructure analysis, new business opportunities
We applied several treatments to Cascade hops at Kelly Ridge Farms' hop yard (Meadowview, VA) in an attempt to affect vegetative growth and infloration timing. These variables can directly control hop cone production per crown which is of critical interest to this industry. Applied treatments included techniques to increase early soil temperatures, three different timings of early emergent shoot pruning, and two apical meristem manipulation treatments. We attempted to survey regional growers for additional data and engaged local college students in the experimental process. Our results were presented at meetings of regional growers and a student science conference.
Project objectives from proposal:
Our objective was to evaluate three potential treatments to affect vegetative growth and associated flowering timing. Each treatment was designed to attempt to increase the amount of vegetative growth prior to flowering, either through promoting earlier vegetative growth or delaying the onset of flowering. Increased vegetative growth was anticipated to correlate with increased hop cone production.
1. Installation of hoop houses in early spring to increase soil temperatures and promote early vegetative growth.
2. Documented experimentation with ranged vegetative pruning timings (early emergent shoot removal) to reduce vegetative growth volume until longer day lengths naturally inhibit flowering.
3. Experimentation with technique in the pruning and manipulation of apical meristems to observe how these physical treatments affect flowering timing.
We also attempted to gather and document data from regional growers regarding observed flowering and emergent shoot timing through the established regional growers organization Old Dominion Hops Cooperative.
Faculty and students at Emory and Henry College were engaged to provide technical insight into the research results and interpretation of complex relationships of different flowering and hormonal controls. Undergraduate students were provided the opportunity to assist in field work, data analysis, and other research activities for this project as a part of their Senior Project requirement with the College.