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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Hops Growing > starting a hop farm 2 acres to start..then double every year till i hit 32 acres




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Old 01-09-2013, 01:57 PM   #61
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While it seems a good idea, be careful. Sheep tend to graze very close to the ground. Early in the year when the shoots are young and tender, they may eat them along with the weeds. So at least give them a chance to sprout up a bit.

Goats eat everything...I mean everything. They will eat your irrigation tubing, chew on your trellis, eat the hops, eat the weeds. You get the idea.

Horse and cattle are large animals and could do real damage if they were to wander through the wrong spot.

I'm not saying its a bad idea, just not without its dangers.

What we do is come through and completely till a 4 foot wide strip. mix in some compost and then apply a cover crop of dutch white clover or similar. Something that won't steal nitrogen, won't grow to high as to compete for sunlight but will choke out the weeds. In between you can leave prairie grass, clover or whatever. You will have to weed for a couple of years but eventually, the clover will out compete. If you are using herbicides, there are some that you can use but not many.



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Old 01-09-2013, 02:01 PM   #62
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+1 for clover cover. I'm just a small home grower, but it works like champ. Use it in my veggie garden too. And in my lawn. Love the stuff.



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Old 01-09-2013, 11:48 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by GVH_Dan View Post
In our classes we break down the financials for starting at an acre. Same with our growers, we require they start with an acre but never let them start with more than 2.

It is a HUGE investment in time and money. True, some of the costs scale up with size (# of rhizomes, amount of compost, amount of fertilizer) but others don't. For example, 1/4 acre will have more than 1/4 the number of poles than a single acre. When you rent equipment to install the poles, the rental costs will be the same. Digging a well will cost pretty much the same for a 1/4 acre vs. a full acre. The time to weed 1/4 acre is only a little less than 1 acre because you get in a groove.

But if you go above 2 acres...well, we've had a grower or two get so far in over their heads that they just surrendered and gave up. You don't want to get in the situation where you hate yourself for undertaking such an exciting endeavor.

Contact me at anytime. Just PM me on this forum and I can send you an e-mail address. Or just google...

thanks for all your chimes in but id like to keep my thread related to my current projects, hops , brewing, growing barley and ideas relating.. seams like there are people that are just advertising for there own personal grower classes or something... ... no hard feelings just trying to keep this thread information only regarding my current projects and comments to making it for easy browsing for going back in the future..


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Any reason not to let the goats/sheep rummage through the hop field and eat all of the weeds/lower leaves of the plants? Seems like a backsaver.
No goats buts sheep yes.. I will be doing a research study on using sheep this year for weeds..In new Zealand this is Common practice.. however you will have to wait till the hops are already established ( anything on the bines from 4 feet down will also be eaten along with the grass between the rows ) so this cuts labor .... .. 5 to 6 sheep per acre is what i have been told.. time will tell... ill be doing some study's on different times of the grow season to release the sheep for grazing and numbers...
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:28 PM   #64
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Hi Rudds, Dan's comment about his classes was in regards to my question, in his defense he wasn't trying to sell me on them it was relevant to the thread . Back to your project, I've tried to find some resources on the organic malted barley trade but haven't had much luck, can you point me in a direction? What kind of return are you expecting per acre? And are you sourcing out the malting process this year till your drying floor is done or expecting to keep it in house? Thanks!

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Old 01-14-2013, 05:45 AM   #65
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Send me a pm .dont want to discuss any numbers on here here as its all bussiness from here on out ...

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Old 03-25-2013, 01:22 AM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rudds67

thanks for all your chimes in but id like to keep my thread related to my current projects, hops , brewing, growing barley and ideas relating.. seams like there are people that are just advertising for there own personal grower classes or something... ... no hard feelings just trying to keep this thread information only regarding my current projects and comments to making it for easy browsing for going back in the future..

No goats buts sheep yes.. I will be doing a research study on using sheep this year for weeds..In new Zealand this is Common practice.. however you will have to wait till the hops are already established ( anything on the bines from 4 feet down will also be eaten along with the grass between the rows ) so this cuts labor .... .. 5 to 6 sheep per acre is what i have been told.. time will tell... ill be doing some study's on different times of the grow season to release the sheep for grazing and numbers...
Any updates this yr. hows everything going. Pictures?!???!!!! Sheep r what we are pondering now also.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:12 PM   #67
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Nice thread. Rudds - should your travels ever take you out to Eastern Washington... I drink beer at the local brewery here in Prosser most weeks with a bunch of retired PhD's that traveled the world teaching people how to grow hops in every climate imaginable (Poland, Japan, etc.). As the saying goes - these guys have forgotten more about growing hops then most people will ever know. If you were ever out this way for a the price of a couple pitchers I have a feeling that they could answer any question thrown at them. Plus there are all the local hop growers and farms out here to look at. Oregon is OK but for my money this is the place to check out.

I keep thinking about growing hops on my few acres, heck the rhizomes would be free and the water is paid for... every spring I think about it.... and every fall a few farmers I know show up with garbage bags full of hops fresh from the kiln for me in trade for a few beers -though I have to be sure they get the varieties straight... so the incentive has just not been there. (To say nothing of the fields that don't get picked for lack of price/drying space/you name it - I keep thinking I should have a side job selling whole leaf hops to homebrewers but that would cut into my drinking time). Plus there are some cool varieties out here that get a shot - A buddy showed up the other day with a huge sack of experimental 14% Alpha pellets for me (that just made a nice 9% DIPA), when I asked him if he wanted some back he mentioned that he had already kept a 5 gallon bucket... Sometimes it feels like the wild west of hops out here.

Another thought for you is I bet one or two of these retired guys might be willing to consult via phone for some type of consideration. Plus there are always the professional field folks around here (a few of those guys are my neighbors). Happy to make the introductions if it helps.

Good luck on your venture!

Peter

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Old 03-26-2013, 05:51 PM   #68
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Peter hey thanks for the information .what's the closest airport that you're near. I may have to shoot out there for a long weekend... I do need more rhizomes this year coming in April and may.what better then fly back home with them...do you know of any local places to get them for a good deal?.. Sharing some craft brew with knowledgeable people in the biggest hops growing region in the USA sounds like time well spent..I will pm you about it....thanks.. steve

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Old 04-23-2013, 08:14 PM   #69
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Default Hops in Virginia?

I've really enjoyed reading this thread- I'm considering abandoning city life for a farm, and doing a little research, I haven't been able to find much info on hops growing in Virginia. With about 40 microbreweries and markets in DC and Baltimore, I wonder if this is because of mildew in a more Southern climate (I'm in northern VA, so the climate is more mid-Atlantic than deep South)

Also, are any of you seeing any impact on with your harvest from the changing weather patterns we've seen over the last couple years?

Any advice you could offer would be most appreciated!

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Old 04-28-2013, 08:33 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Virginiahops View Post
I've really enjoyed reading this thread- I'm considering abandoning city life for a farm, and doing a little research, I haven't been able to find much info on hops growing in Virginia. With about 40 microbreweries and markets in DC and Baltimore, I wonder if this is because of mildew in a more Southern climate (I'm in northern VA, so the climate is more mid-Atlantic than deep South)

Also, are any of you seeing any impact on with your harvest from the changing weather patterns we've seen over the last couple years?

Any advice you could offer would be most appreciated!
Hops will grow just about anywhere.. judt b/c they dont grow where you liv now.. doesn't mean then won't there in the future.. people have got away from growing just about everything unless for Hobby gardens. pick up some rhizomes or plants throw them in the yard and give it a whirl...
Attached are the first spring sprouts.. columbus .. poles go in the ground this week...


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