Australia’s largest hop grower Hop Products Australia this week announced its 2019 harvest results with a reported 13 per cent year-on-year increase in total production.
The production increase comes after the company’s $25-million expansion project that concluded in 2017, with plants coming to full maturity this harvest. The maturation of these plantings has increased HPA’s total production by more than 100 per cent since 2014.
The company said that, with the production increase, it will be able to fulfil all of its contractual obligations.
HPA harvested 589 hectares across its Victoria-based Rostrevor Hop Gardens and Buffalo Valley farms and its Tasmania-based Bushy Park Estates, which resulted in a total production volume of 1,482 metric tonnes.
This included substantial increases across HPA’s proprietary hop varieties, with an 8.6 per cent increase in Galaxy (to 822mt), a 10.8 per cent increase in Vic Secret (to 225mt), a 6.4 per cent increase in Ella (to 133mt), and a 125 per cent increase in its newest proprietary hop Enigma (to 90mt).
HPA managing director Tim Lord, who this year oversaw his 14th harvest, said in a media release that he is proud to be able to work alongside breweries in Australia and overseas to help create flavour-forward beers.
“Seeing such a significant investment come to fruition is extremely satisfying, particularly as we embark on an even bigger expansion project that will improve supply surety and increase varietal diversity to support our customers’ successes,” Lord said in the release.
HPA has also embarked on a second expansion at Buffalo Valley, which has now passed stage one. With 175 hectares of land under trellis, 50 of those will be harvested for the first time in 2020.
HPA said that its latest expansion project is geared towards improving supply surety and increasing varietal diversity. The $35-million project will include 300 additional hectares and a new harvest complex comprising 12 kiln floors and two Daunhauer pickers at completion.
The Buffalo Valley expansion is anticipated to increase HPA’s total production by 50 per cent over a six-year period.
The 2018-19 growing season was a hot one, with HPA’s Victorian and Tasmanian farms experiencing extended heatwave conditions and lower than average rainfall. These conditions caused a slight delay in crop maturation compared to previous years.
HPA employed a total of 305 harvest staff from more than 20 countries across its farms in 2019.
You can hear HPA’s Sales Manager Owen Johnston discuss the harvest in detail in this week’s Brews News Week podcast, which will be available this evening through iTunes, Spotify or your favourite podcast aggregator.