High Quality Beverage Raw Materials for the Craft Brewing Industry

2015 Annual Report for LNC13-349

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2013: $196,953.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2017
Grant Recipient: University of Wisconsin
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Carl Duley

High Quality Beverage Raw Materials for the Craft Brewing Industry


Project has progressed very well in 2015.  Farm cooperators for hop and malting barley have been excellent to work with and are willing to try new methods on their farms.  2015 brought on some special challenges with very wet/humid weather that made disease control difficult in both crops.

Partnerships continue to be very important in the success of this project in both hop and malting barley research.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Hop Emphasis:

  • Continue Hop Downy Mildew identification and control.
  • Study the life cycle of Hop Downy Mildew under Wisconsin conditions at four sites throughout the state.
  • Study pathogen persistence and reproduction under Wisconsin conditions.
  • Trails on propagation success and first year plant growth.


Malting Barley Emphasis:

  • Continue to study spring malting barley varieties under Wisconsin growing conditions.
  • Participate in Dr. Kevin Smith’s winter malting barley trials.
  • Study fungicide timing and application in spring malting barley.
  • Gather data on nitrogen application rates on spring malting barley under Wisconsin growing conditions.


Hop Emphasis:

  • Seventh Annual Hop Conference was held on March 6, 2015.  Emphasis was on new growers with trellis and yard design, irrigation, pesticide application, and beginning disease control.  45 participants 

Roger Rainville; University of Vermont: Boarderview Research Farm; Owner/Manager.
“Perspectives on Six years of Hop Research in Northern Vermont: Hop Yard Construction, Irrigation, and Harvest Equipment Design.”

Bo Bélanger; Brew Master and Owner; South Shore Brewing; President – WI Brewers Guild
“Wisconsin Brewer’s Guild Perspective on Local Hops and Barley”

Dr. Amanda Gevens/ Michele Marks; UW-Extension Plant Pathologist
“Hop Disease: What we saw in 2014 and What to Watch for in 2015”

Ken Schroeder; UW-Extension, Portage County Ag Agent
“Drip Irrigation Basics for Optimal Hop Production”

Jerry Clark; UW-Extension, Chippewa County Crops and Soils Agent
“Calibration of Hand Sprayers for Safety and Proper Crop Protection”

Ruth Genger; UW-Madison, Plant Pathology Lab
“The Wisconsin Clean Hop Rhizome Program Update”

Dan Stolt; Owner/Brewer Bloomer Brewery

  • Hop Summer Field Day held in two locations.  Designed for experienced growers and focused mainly around disease control and management.  92 growers from Wisconsin and Minnesota participated in these field days.

Dr. David Gent, USDA -Oregon State University, Hop Disease and Production Specialist
Dr. Amanda Gevens, UW-Extension Plant Pathologist
Dr. Russ Groves, UW-Extension Entomologist
Michelle Marks, WI SARE R&E Hop Research Project
WDATCP -Facility requirement/license for hop processing
Field tours of hop yard


Malting Barley Emphasis:

  • Winter malting barley trials in 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 did not survive the winter.  All 26 varieties in the 2014/2015 trials survived and did extremely well.  Seven varieties yield in excess of 70 bushels per acre in the small plots.  Rahr Malt in Shakopee Minnesota micro malted these seven varieties with results that are very promising.  28 varieties were planted in October, 2016, and as of this report all varieties seemed to have survived the winter once again.  Farmers are very excited about the possibility for winter barley as they seem to yield higher, have less disease issues, fit better into the rotation, and provide better cover on stepper soils than spring barley.
  • Spring varieties were planted once again in two locations, Buffalo County and Chippewa County.  Nine varieties were included in the 2015 replicated variety plots.  All were malted by the USDA Cereal Grains Unit in Madison, WI.  Seven of the varieties showed good malting qualities, but only two have the other desirable characteristics for malting and brewing.
  • A fungicide plot was also included in two locations in 2015.  Plots included no fungicide, fungicide for leaf diseases only, fungicide at heading only and two fungicide applications.  All were replicated with two different varieties of barley (Pinnacle and Genesis) and each was replicated four times.  Data is still being analyzed, but preliminary data looked like there may be some advantage to the Genesis variety and maybe just fungicide at heading.  These trials will be conducted again in 2016 along with a trial using generic fungicide to compare control with lower costs pesticide.
  • A nitrogen fertilizer trial was also conducted with Pinnacle barley with rates from 0 to 120 pounds of nitrogen.  Data was mixed and the trial will be run in 2016 for a second time.
  • A twilight meeting was held at each plot location.  A total of 35 farmers and brewers participated in the meetings.  Dr. Kevin Smith and his graduate student Tyler Tiede also participated.
  • A December webinar was offered on the results of the malting barley research trials to this point.  Farmers from five Wisconsin Counties participated in the webinar.
  • Five farmers in Buffalo county grew 120 acres of Pinnacle barley under contract with Rahr Malt in 2016.  About 100 acres of the barley made malting grade and preliminary micro-malt samples looked very good.  The barley will be malted in early 2016.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Hop Emphasis Presentations and meetings:


Malting Barley Emphasis:


Jerry Clark

Crops and Soils Educator
711 North Bridge Street Room 13
Chippewa Falls, WI 54729
Office Phone: 7157267955
Dr. Amanda Gevens

Professor, Plant Pathology
689 Russell Labs
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706
Office Phone: 6088903072
Tim Rehbein

Ag Agent
Suite 392 318 Fairlane Drive
Viroqua, WI 54665
Office Phone: 6086375276