Project Leaders: Kenyon and Eugenie McGuire, Desert Weyr Farm, Paonia, CO
Technical Advisor: Ron Godin, CSU Rogers Mesa Research Center
Project Years: 2002, 2003
See www.desertweyr.com for the Desert Weyr Farm website which includes weather station data and more information on the hop variety tests.
The productivity and winter hardiness of six hop varieties were evaluated over two growing seasons in Paonia , Colorado . The effects of mulching plants with waste wool (a locally available resource) to increase winter survival were also studied as well as the feasibility of using hops vines as shade for sheep herds. Weather data loggers and weather station data were used to determine if the conditions seen during the project years were typical of the weather in Delta County . All of the hops vines survived the winter and the weather was indeed fairly typical for the area. Mulched plants were more robust, recovered well from early frosts, and tended to produce more cones than un-mulched plants. No significant insect pest or disease problems were encountered. Sheep grazing early in the season did not damage the plants; however fencing is needed later in the season if the hops are to be used as shade for the sheep. Out of the six varieties planted, Centennial, Horizon, and Sterling were all poor performers. Vanguard produced a few cones in the second year but did not perform well. Canadian Red Vine and Chinook produced cones which were air dried (versus gas drying ovens which are required in more humid areas of the country) and tested for Alpha and Beta acids. Percentage of Beta acids were similar but the Alpha acids in the Chinook sample (13.2%) were more than three times the amount in Canadian Red Vine (3.8%) making Chinook more commercially useful. However, commercial quantities of hops are not yet being produced by these vines.
Click here for the full 2003 Final Report (Word Document).