Extreme weather expected to affect 2016 crop yields
We don’t typically publish mid-season commentary on the progress and expected outcomes of the hop crop.
But a season of weather extremes has presented some challenges that we now know will have a negative impact on expected yields from harvest 2016.
On 8 December 2015 two storm cells collided close to our Victorian farm, Rostrevor Hop Gardens in the Ovens Valley. The Gardens experienced 65mm of rain and hail in just 15 minutes accompanied by very strong gusts of wind which significantly damaged the southern half of the farm and resulted in many plants losing their growing tips.
Over the past six weeks we’ve invested thousands of hours in re-training lateral arms to re-establish apical growing tips, essential for progressing proper growth stages in the plants. It is now clear that while some bines recovered quite well, others failed to grow any higher than approximately half their normal height.
As such, we now estimate the crop from Rostrevor Hop Gardens will be approximately 40 per cent below expected yield in 2016.
The main varieties affected are Galaxy™, Vic Secret™, Ella™ and Topaz™, although the true impact will not be known until harvest is completed at the end of March.
Of course, we will endeavour to honour contracts in full where possible but it is now a realistic expectation that there will be a significant shortfall against expectations.
We regret the negative impacts this may have but unfortunately like any agri-business, we’re at the mercy of Mother Nature and this year she came down hard on us.
Owen Johnston and our team will be working closely with all customers to manage any shortfalls that may occur and discuss substitution options as the need arises.
On a positive note, the crop at Bushy Park Estates in Tasmania is growing well and is expected to yield an average crop.
In addition, the construction of HPA’s new harvest facility at Rostrevor is progressing as scheduled and the planting of the new hop gardens planned for this season have been completed.
Production expansion plans are on track and the outlook for crop 2017 and beyond remains unchanged.
Our next update will be issued in April 2016 after pelleting and packaging has been finalised and we have yield results available. At this time we’ll be able to accurately and specifically communicate with all customers on an individual basis.
If you have any queries please contact Owen Johnston directly on Owen.Johnston@hops.com.au or 0400 126 016.
NB: The image above shows the landslide near Rostrevor Hop Gardens after the 8th December 2015 weather event.