We have completed the 2021 hop harvest, picking 675 hectares that resulted in 1,526 metric tonnes of hops. This was a 44 hectare (6.9%) increase and a 25 metric tonne (1.6%) decrease year-on-year. Despite total yield coming in slightly under expectation, our Galaxy® yield grew 7.2% year-on-year. We’re excited to share this marks 11 years of continuous growth, with the exception of 2016 when we were hit with significant hail damage.
Eclipse® looks set to follow in Galaxy®’s footsteps after exceeding expectations in its second year of commercialisation. Sustainably scaling up Eclipse®, Galaxy® and Vic Secret™ has been the focus of a continuing $35 million expansion in Victoria that will take our total farming operations to more than 800 hectares at completion. All additional acreage will reach commercial maturity by 2024, at which point Eclipse® is forecast to reach 180 metric tonnes, making it our third biggest proprietary hop.
Impact in beer remains strong, with this year’s average oil content coming in above the 5-year average for all varieties except Enigma®. These high quality outcomes are on track to continue now we have restructured the business to create a division of Agronomic Services with the purpose of improving yield, quality, and efficiencies across our farming operations. This is an extension of our strategy to grow alongside brewing customers by continuing to offer choice and diversity through the commercialisation of experimental varieties, and supporting successful beers by backing our more popular Aussie hops with significant acreage.
The highly contracted position of crop 2021 means that a very limited amount of hops will be available in the short-term. This situation, together with our expansion project drawing to a close, suggests that forward contracting is now more important than ever for supply security. Brewers are encouraged to communicate their Aussie hop needs sooner rather than later.