New member intro looking into farming hops

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djorr5

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Hi all, new member and joined after a lot of my googling about hops ended up in this forum :D. Just purchased about 8 acres of land around the Sale area in Victoria and am looking to utilise the land. Over a couple of beers with some mates we decided on hops. Was hoping to start off with a small trellis system and some dwarf varieties but as I do more and more research I guess I will end up with the standard stuff like Cascade etc. with maybe starting off on a small trellis system and upgrade to a larger one as some revenue starts coming in. If anyone has any experience in this field feel free to reach out to me.
 

GrumpyPaul

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Thats a few years old but there's contact details of the guy that ran the class.

Also @Belgrave Brewer runs Yellingbo Hops. Not sure if he is active on here any more.
 

Matty Groves

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Hi all, new member and joined after a lot of my googling about hops ended up in this forum :D. Just purchased about 8 acres of land around the Sale area in Victoria and am looking to utilise the land. Over a couple of beers with some mates we decided on hops. Was hoping to start off with a small trellis system and some dwarf varieties but as I do more and more research I guess I will end up with the standard stuff like Cascade etc. with maybe starting off on a small trellis system and upgrade to a larger one as some revenue starts coming in. If anyone has any experience in this field feel free to reach out to me.
Congratulations - that’s my dream
 

An Ankoù

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Thanks @An Ankoù
You reminded me this site very good.

www.wildabouthops.nz

I bought my hop plants from them but very good site and the owners very helpful. They grow hops and supply plants.
Yeah, they have a great recipe section. I've made more than one or two of their beers now that I've figured out the local equivalents of Gladfields malts, which are not always what they say they are in their conversion chart. Anyway, I've been trying to get hold of some of their Tangerine Dream, just out of curiosity, and that's pretty much impossible, but I haven't given up.
Good luck with the project.
 

djorr5

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Thanks for all the links guys. But nervous about the whole thing but hey you only get one shot at life.

Just wondering if anyone knows if it is of benefit to plant about half the amount of rhizomes and then when they go dormant for winter split them to fill the yard I am guessing from what I've read that it would reset them back to year 1 yields again? But would save me a chunk of coin.
 

djorr5

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MHB

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In NSW we have a department of Agriculture, they employ Agronomists who are there to give farmers really good advice.
It would be worth looking for something similar in your locality, they can work through you soil, water, fertiliser garden layout... all to help you get it right.
Farming anything these days is a highly technical and demanding way to make a living. Its well worth planning ahead.
Mark
 

S.E

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Just wondering if anyone knows if it is of benefit to plant about half the amount of rhizomes and then when they go dormant for winter split them to fill the yard I am guessing from what I've read that it would reset them back to year 1 yields again? But would save me a chunk of coin.
No need to split the rhizomes, you can grow them from cuttings. When I trim back the shoots in spring I often stick them in a damp pot of soil keep them damp and they nearly always grow.

I even had a load of shoots setting roots is a bucket of water but let them die as I had far too many and nowhere to plant them.
 

Grmblz

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For a lot of plants cheaply ^ S.E ^ is right on the money, cuttings are the way to go, just be aware that it adds a couple of years to the timeline.
Rhizomes are available here July/August and being dormant travel well, cuttings are more December/January and need to be well rooted and packed very carefully to survive Aus Post.
BYO magazine has a brief article on the subject, it's a bit Americanised of course but well worth a quick look.
Gumtree, market place, and of course here are all good sources, but at $5 a rhizome 8 acres is going to cost a lot, I've no idea about commercial suppliers rates.
Given that most growers cut back the first flush of shoots October/November ish it might be worth reaching out here for anyone willing to root them up and send them to you for the cost of the postage, we only chuck them in the compost anyway, it might just be the start of a "hop swap" program/thread.
 

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djorr5

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For a lot of plants cheaply ^ S.E ^ is right on the money, cuttings are the way to go, just be aware that it adds a couple of years to the timeline.
Rhizomes are available here July/August and being dormant travel well, cuttings are more December/January and need to be well rooted and packed very carefully to survive Aus Post.
BYO magazine has a brief article on the subject, it's a bit Americanised of course but well worth a quick look.
Gumtree, market place, and of course here are all good sources, but at $5 a rhizome 8 acres is going to cost a lot, I've no idea about commercial suppliers rates.
Given that most growers cut back the first flush of shoots October/November ish it might be worth reaching out here for anyone willing to root them up and send them to you for the cost of the postage, we only chuck them in the compost anyway, it might just be the start of a "hop swap" program/thread.
Hi @Grmblz noticed you mentioned $5 per rhizome. The pages I have looked at are well above that for price. Where are you seeing those prices?
 

Grmblz

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Hi @djorr5, sorry mate that was from memory, 3 or 4 yrs ago, shit maybe even 5 and it was the going rate for a small rhizome from the sources I mentioned, typically a 6inch errr 7cm? rhizome with 3 or 4 buds on it, no crop to speak of for the first yr, a cutting will be a yr behind it in terms of product. honestly the big hop farms use cuttings, dig up a mature plant and you might get 30 or 40 rhizomes pieces, take cuttings and you can end up with hundreds of plants, sure it will take a yr for them to form a rhizome but the economic advantages are obvious, the biggest expense is going to be your infrastructure, have you considered the cost of water? Nevermind the trellises. You've got a couple of months before rhizomes become available, every yr around spring we get people asking about rhizomes, it's too late, mid winter is for rhizomes, as S.E mentioned, cuttings are a different animal, but folks want now, this summer, it just doesn't work like that. You mention 8 acres, I live on 5, I have 8 different hop varieties in a small hop garden covering maybe 1/4 acre, ok it's just for my use but the whole idea of 8 acres worth of hops!!! F me, have you ever harvested a single bine? Not trying to put you off, just thinking you might not be aware of all the challenges. Plenty of folk grow hops just to sell the rhizomes to aspiring hop growers, they don't actually use the hop flowers themselves (very sad)
Seeing as you're new to all this I'll do you a deal, pm me a pic of your proposed site/infrastructure (it could be just a trellised fence) and I'll send you a few rhizomes FOC about July/August (I need to dig up some older plants) Once you have gone through the whole process you might reconsider it as a revenue stream.
It's a bit like wheat, broad acre farming with combines killed farmhouse production, back in the day an acre of wheat hand sown and harvested fed a family for the year, today we go to the supermarket and just buy our flour/bread, commercial hop farms are industrialised to the same extent, gone are the days that a few acres managed by hand are a commercial viability, unless it's for ones own consumption, and believe me you ain't gonna get through 8 acres of hops just brewin for yourself, mainly because the window for harvest is quite short, and it's extremely labour intensive, still the offer stands.
 

An Ankoù

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Hi @djorr5, sorry mate that was from memory, 3 or 4 yrs ago, shit maybe even 5 and it was the going rate for a small rhizome from the sources I mentioned, typically a 6inch errr 7cm? rhizome with 3 or 4 buds on it, no crop to speak of for the first yr, a cutting will be a yr behind it in terms of product. honestly the big hop farms use cuttings, dig up a mature plant and you might get 30 or 40 rhizomes pieces, take cuttings and you can end up with hundreds of plants, sure it will take a yr for them to form a rhizome but the economic advantages are obvious, the biggest expense is going to be your infrastructure, have you considered the cost of water? Nevermind the trellises. You've got a couple of months before rhizomes become available, every yr around spring we get people asking about rhizomes, it's too late, mid winter is for rhizomes, as S.E mentioned, cuttings are a different animal, but folks want now, this summer, it just doesn't work like that. You mention 8 acres, I live on 5, I have 8 different hop varieties in a small hop garden covering maybe 1/4 acre, ok it's just for my use but the whole idea of 8 acres worth of hops!!! F me, have you ever harvested a single bine? Not trying to put you off, just thinking you might not be aware of all the challenges. Plenty of folk grow hops just to sell the rhizomes to aspiring hop growers, they don't actually use the hop flowers themselves (very sad)
Seeing as you're new to all this I'll do you a deal, pm me a pic of your proposed site/infrastructure (it could be just a trellised fence) and I'll send you a few rhizomes FOC about July/August (I need to dig up some older plants) Once you have gone through the whole process you might reconsider it as a revenue stream.
It's a bit like wheat, broad acre farming with combines killed farmhouse production, back in the day an acre of wheat hand sown and harvested fed a family for the year, today we go to the supermarket and just buy our flour/bread, commercial hop farms are industrialised to the same extent, gone are the days that a few acres managed by hand are a commercial viability, unless it's for ones own consumption, and believe me you ain't gonna get through 8 acres of hops just brewin for yourself, mainly because the window for harvest is quite short, and it's extremely labour intensive, still the offer stands.
That sounds like a very fair and sensible offer to me. I don't know anything about Australian hop farms, but there's a small one local to me here in France and it looks an acre, maybe less. In the UK, I sometimes order from Stocks Farm (see below) and my contact is a charming lady called Felicity Beaumont. She'd certainly give you the time of day if you gave her a call. Might even be there applying to work there for a while to learn the ropes!

Traditionally Stocks Farm has been a hop and fruit farm for over 200 years. Richard and Ali Capper farm in partnership with Richard's father Mark Capper. The farm comprises of 100 acres of hops and 100 acres of apples.

Stocks Farm
https://stocksfarm.net › our-farm
 

djorr5

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Appreciate the time taken to respond Grmblz,

Hi @djorr5 the biggest expense is going to be your infrastructure, have you considered the cost of water?
We have access to 10-14ML water rights so am looking at setting up the drip system off this and draw from it when needed.

You mention 8 acres, I live on 5, I have 8 different hop varieties in a small hop garden covering maybe 1/4 acre, ok it's just for my use but the whole idea of 8 acres worth of hops!!! F me, have you ever harvested a single bine?
Yeah agreed. Wasn't going balls and all in on 8 acres (and probably will never fully utilise all those acres) first 3-4 years but instead start off on 3/4 - 1 acre and take it from there. I still need to setup all the infrastructure like trellis and irrigation etc as well and that it itself is a big capital outlay. But the initial thoughts are to start small, sell to the local brewers around me, first year probably just try to sell them all as wet hops to the local guys and go from there. I really am trying to utilise the land as much as possible so it isn't wasted and also hopefully get primary producer allowance. Not sure if anyone else on here knows a good way to make money off the land that size? But I love beer so this sort of stimulated me into action 🙃

Seeing as you're new to all this I'll do you a deal, pm me a pic of your proposed site/infrastructure (it could be just a trellised fence) and I'll send you a few rhizomes FOC about July/August (I need to dig up some older plants) Once you have gone through the whole process you might reconsider it as a revenue stream.
I'll take you up on that offer :D, what varieties are they?

Harvesting in a few years time will be a pain but for the initial part will just be by hand with the family and friends...... I still haven't quite figured out the drying part yet though. Or whether there are enterprises around me that have the ability to dry and pelletise for a fee.
 

Grmblz

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Ok, sorry for the late response, Cascade, Red Earth, EKG, Fuggles, Vic Secret, POR, Tettnang, Hallertau, and one that I have no clue, lost the tag.
I would love to get a hold of some NZ citrusy varieties so if anyone has any and wants to swap/sell please pm me.
 

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