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.

Friday, August 1, 2008

It's a boy...

Sometimes, even here on the farm we will have a male hop show up in the middle of our hop yards. This will even happen in an established yard that has had no male hops in the past. In our case normally we will take them out, rhizomes and all, as soon as possible to prevent the formation of seeds in the cones nearby. We do this because our goal is to always have a stem and leaf content under the 2% mark, which allows the hops to fall into the premium category. Premium from a farm standpoint is related to the stem, leaf, and seed content, which can be controlled by the grower. The grower controls this through making sure there are very few if any male plants and by how the hop picking machines are set up for harvest.

This is what a male hop looks like. The one shown here is in the middle of a Willamette yard that is in at least its fourth year. In our opinion there really is no use for this plant on the farm, maybe at home people think they are pleasing to the eye, or add character to their yard.

Here is a closer view of the male hop plant. It does not have any cones and through pollination with the female plants in the vicinity will create unwanted seeds.

The cones below are Nuggets, this vine was a little more mature than some of its counterparts in the yard. As you will see below the cones will actually be fairly sizable as they mature.

I did not have a ruler handy to demonstrate the size of the Nugget cones, but my hand works well enough to give a rough idea.


LStaff said...

Thanks for posting up the pictures of the male plants. I have been scouring the internet for some like that, since I was trying to identify what a male plant looks like with the wild hops in my area. I believe I have found some near the female plants but would be impossible for me to remove them all. I am sure it doesn't take many male plants to fertilize alot of female plants, correct? Do you look up and down every row on your farm looking for them each year?

Would you have any info on brewing with seeded female cones? Does it decrease the Alpha acid content at all? Or change the flavor/aroma? Or cause detriment to your wort/beer from the oils or flavor of the seeds?

Hopsdirect said...

No it does not take very many male plants to fertilize the female plants in fields. We do not really designate any specific person to drive all the rows of our field to look for male plants, but since we do drive tractors through the fields throughout the season discing, spraying, ditching, and checking all of our drip lines, we are usually able to get rid of all our male plants rather quickly after they surface.

We are only able to see that a hop is male or female when they are blooming.

From what we understand there is not much information available about the difference of brewing with seeded cones verse unseeded cones. US commercial growers as a general rule make it a point to keep seed counts as low as possible...under one percent, but hopefully completely seedless.


Bill Ballinger said...

What does a seeded hop cone look like? Can it be planted? Why is it undesirable for brewing?

Jeffrey F said...

Good sharee