Well, I got curious and asked hubby about this. He says that some mold on the rhizomes(or any root starter), such as pictured or even worse, will not affect whether or not it is viable, nor how much it produces. He says, "When it starts getting moldy, that's when you need to get it in the ground." He says it's also possible that this could be beneficial, a harmless mold fighting off other fungi that could ruin your hops. Like having white oak snakes in your yard(harmless), to keep away rattlesnakes. Everything I know about gardening and farming, hubby taught me, in that regard he always says "do not believe everything you hear on the Internet!!!"