For the 2019 harvest New Zealand Hops Limited posted a total production volume 1,045,598 kilograms an increase of 323,640 kilograms or 45% on the grower owned co-operative’s 2018 harvest result. Excellent conditions throughout the spring in the lead up to summer set the plants up for what looked to be a very promising crop through early December and up until Christmas with measured even growth and excellent lateral development. The new year brought with it extremely hot and dry conditions which were to persist throughout the summer, right up until and into the harvest. Gale force winds were also to feature in the lead up to harvest, damaging some gardens that were exposed to the severe unseasonal southerlies, particularly in the Waimea and Wakefield areas.
Harvest commenced in late February and the dry and hot weather conditions continued into March when some relief was brought about by some cooler weather and welcome rain. Although the wet weather was a minor hindrance to harvesting operations, it was also a break in the drought and steady rainfall was a welcome sight in the district, especially for many who had been impacted by forest fires during the lead up. The weather conditions improved as harvest proceeded further into March bringing with it stable ambient temperatures conducive to picking and harvest process operations. The result of such seen especially in the kilning and conditioning of high-quality pressed hops when assessed in the bale. As the weather shifted to cooler autumn conditions the growers scheduled their picking to optimise maturity dates and balance variety mix with harvest windows to bring in everything at its peak. As the days shortened the count-down to April commenced and the districts picking teams started winding down to celebrate the end of an eventful and rewarding record hop season. – (New Zealand Hops 2019)
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