Our Goal for this Blog

Over the years we have received and continue to receive numerous phone calls and emails asking many different farm related questions. Our thought is that we would try out a blog to keep people up to date on what we are doing here on Puterbaugh Farms and at Hops Direct.

We will just jump right into where we are at in the growing season with a very brief look at what it took to get the hops to the stage they are in now. If interest is actually shown and people are looking for more information we will continue through the winter and pick up the beginning next spring, which will allow everyone to get a feel for what a full crop year looks like from a hop grower's perspective and all of the many challenges involved. We hope you enjoy.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sweeping and Hanging

There is one other important job that is done outside the machine by the tracks, sweeping. At one picking machine are between 6-8 people who work the position of sweeper/hanger. These persons rotate between sweeping the floors and hanging the vines on the trucks. Usually three will be up in trucks hanging and the rest will be on the floor with brooms and pushers feeding the hops into the small holes in the floor onto conveyors that lead into the picking machine.

We sweep the floors because many of the hops from the vines that are making their way up the tracks fall to the ground. A majority of the material that falls off is individual cone and complete laterals as the vines are pulled loose from the bed of the truck. It is also common for two vines to get stuck together on the way out of the truck, one will fall to the ground in most cases. These vines are not swept into the machine as they have a tendency to plug up the belts forcing the machine operator to shut the machine down to pull the vine out of the bottom. Therefore, all vines that fall are thrown back into the truck, which is no easy take especially when picking established hop yards with lots of foliage and hops on the vines. Best guess is that your dragging around 30-40 LBS of vine that are 18 feet long, sometimes more than one at a time. We usually try to throw them back on the truck when the hangers have finished unloading. This creates less chance of the vines becoming tangled, which would cause them to fall again.

Sweeping loose cones and laterals that have fallen to the ground below the hop vines moving across the track above.
Fallen vines being straightened out to be thrown back up onto the trucks. Once on the trucks the hangers will re-hang the vines. Fallen vines cannot be pushed through the bottom of the machine... this causes too many problems.
The vines are being wrestled back onto the truck. Notice that it takes three people to move this mass of hops. One person can reasonably throw two vines back on a truck, if the number is higher there is not a chance.
Sweeper sweeping hops into the conveyor running below the floor. To the left of the man sweeping is the conveyor leading up into the bottom of the main picker.


Anonymous said...

When do you anticipate the chinook to be harvested? Do you have a rough schedule for the remainder of the hop harvest?

Hopsdirect said...

The Chinook should be harvested sometime in the next week, but things change very often around here during harvest...
Rough schedule would be over the next two weeks we will be harvesting the Galena, Chinook, Bravo, some more Cascades, Palisade, Bravo, and Nuggets. Most likely in that order with a few changes here and there. Still 20 days to go for us.


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