Hops (Pennsylvania)
Coordinated by Beth K. Gugino (bkgugino@psu.edu), Associate Professor of Plant Pathology, 
Penn State University

Background

Hops are one of the fundamental ingredients in the brewing process. In Pennsylvania there are approximately 108 breweries, which contribute $1.9 billion dollars the state’s economy. This places the state fourth in the U.S. in terms of economic impact of the industry. Over the past few years there has been a resurgence of interest due to the “Buy Local” movement that has transcended the beverage market and more hopyards are being put into production throughout Pennsylvania.

Hop field
Hops (Humulis lupulus) L.
David Gent, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

Objective

Direct engagement with the hops industry stakeholders through scouting and monitoring for pests will increase the knowledge and awareness of potential production constraints especially for new growers as well as build our understanding of production practices being utilized across the rapidly emerging industry. This, coupled with research-based results, will enable the Penn State Extension Hops Team to develop practical BMP’s for hops production in Pennsylvania that will lead to a more consistent and reliable crop that is required by the local craft brewing industry to meet consumer expectation and demand.

Situation

The humid climate in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions is a major constraint to production because it favors the development of diseases such as powdery and downy mildews which can cause 100% crop loss if left unmanaged. Unfortunately, diseases such as these are only going to become more challenging to manage due to increased inoculum as the hops acreage increases not only in Pennsylvania but up and down the east coast from Virginia through Vermont. This rapid expansion is evidenced by similar research-based hopyards being established associated with University of Vermont, Cornell, Rutgers, Ohio State and Virginia Tech. Some efforts are underway to coordinate research-based activities across these institutions.

Important Pests

Powdery mildew caused by Podosphaera macularis and downy mildew caused by Pseudoperonospora humuli.

Powdery mildew
Powdery mildew (Podosphaera macularis) (Wallr.) U. Braun and S. Takam
David Gent, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

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