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Old 02-11-2009, 06:04 PM   #11
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The harvest is the part that concerns me the most. I've got a few extra hands that I can get to do the work for beer....but we aren't really talking about an hour or two of labor here are we? So aside from family, self, friends I do have to work out the harvest.

As for the AA, this is something I think i have under control. The AG department at the University of Missouri will test for a price. Last I had heard it was 50-75 bucks, which wouldn't be a bad price to pay if I had a crop big enough to try to sell.

I'm not doing this for income, however I wouldn't be opposed to that happening, it certainly isn't something I would be dependent upon. Mainly it's for person consumption, along with club consumption. If I end up trading away most of my crop for grain to club members, then so be it.
Me and a coworker are doing the exact same thing at my place this year. I contacted a small grower in NY and the harvesting labor was/is the factor when trying to decide to go bigger. His exact words were "if you can figure out a way to get them off the vine efficiently, the sky is the limit." He said anything over an acre is pretty much the line from where it can be done manually verses mechanically.

My plan is to try to come up with a homemade picker utilizing a conveyer system with picking fingers of some sort. The problem is, there is not enough info out there for plans on building one since it is such a niche industry. But I am mechanically inclined and I currently do some farming now so I won't be going into this completely blind.

Check out this talk forum Forum - Gorst Valley Hops Forum there is some good info on there for small scale producers trying to get started.
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Old 02-11-2009, 06:15 PM   #12
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Historically, the hop yards around here bused students in from the local colleges for the harvest. Now, the farms are so large that only the $500,000 strippers can handle the load. There are some pictures of a small hop stripper at this page http://www.simpson.uk.com/beers/Belg...HopHarvest.htm

Drying will also be a consideration.

BUT, maybe you can turn harvest into a festival for the club along the lines of hopmadness. This involves making fresh hop beer, as well as drinking beer, talking about beer, camping out & cursing beer in the morning, etc.

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Old 02-11-2009, 06:41 PM   #13
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With the reading I've done in the last 24 hours, I may continue on my original plan for building the trellis system, however I may cut back to only 10 plants of each variety. The first year will yield a very small amount of actual cones and should give me a better idea of what I am in for as far as harvest labor and drying. Then I can take rhizomes off of those two rows to increase size if I feel like taking a bigger plunge. Even with 20 plants I think the harvest would be a pretty consuming affair.

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Old 02-11-2009, 08:44 PM   #14
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Dloucks - Check the two links below. These guys have small commercial operations and may be able to provide you with more detailed information.

Home Page

Colorado Organic Hops, Organic Brewing Hop Rhizomes, Hop Growing, Organic Hops, Growing Hops For Beer

And there is lots of good information at this Yahoo group page.

Grow-Hops : Homebrewer's Garden: Hops/Barley/Herbs

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Old 02-12-2009, 08:41 PM   #15
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I put up some u tubes of my picker & dryer Glen

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Old 02-12-2009, 08:50 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42 View Post
only the $500,000 strippers can handle the load.
I think this is going in my sig...
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Quote:
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only the $500,000 strippers can handle the load.
<Insert list of brews planned, fermenting, or being consumed here>
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:53 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plowboymiz View Post
Me and a coworker are doing the exact same thing at my place this year. I contacted a small grower in NY ...
Hey plowboymiz, where in NY do you live? LI here, you upstate or downstate?
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Old 02-13-2009, 03:16 PM   #18
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Hey plowboymiz, where in NY do you live? LI here, you upstate or downstate?
I guess I should have said I am actually in SW Pennsylvania but NY is the closest I could find anyone who is growing on a scale larger than a couple plants in the back yard.
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Old 02-14-2009, 04:04 AM   #19
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I think this is going in my sig...
ROFL

if you didn't, i would have.
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Old 02-14-2009, 06:25 AM   #20
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^ THANK YOU, thank you
It had been up for over 12 hours and I was starting to think the maturity of the board has progressed beyond my 5th grade farts and hooker jokes mentality.

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only the $500,000 strippers can handle the load.
<Insert list of brews planned, fermenting, or being consumed here>
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