Heat wave could lead to record hops crop for Oregon farmers - KPTV - FOX 12

Heat wave could lead to record hops crop for Oregon farmers

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The heat wave is here just as the hard work is starting at some local farms.

Farmers harvest hops when the hops tell them they're ready.

At the Rogue Farm in Independence, the hops were ready this week right at the start of the heat wave.

"We have to go as soon as mother nature says go, when that moisture content is at the perfect level. So come rain or shine, the harvest must go on," said Cheryl Gillson with Rogue Ales.

Mother nature said 'go' this week and this year the sun is definitely shining at the Rogue Farm.

As temperatures climb close to 90 degrees, field workers stay covered up to protect themselves from the heat.

Seven varieties of hops grow at the farm. 

At harvest, a machine cuts the vines, trucks carry the vines from the field to warehouses, where machines separate the cones from the string. Conveyer belts carry hops to the kiln room, where they're heated up to 155 degrees to dry for 24 hours. The hops are cooled and then bailed into 200 pound bricks until it's time to brew beer.

The hotter than normal summer helped these hops grow.

Rogue is harvesting a week earlier than normal and could collect a record crop.

"Hops love the sun, they need sun to grow. During peak growing season they'll actually grow up to 12 inches in a day, just chasing the sun from sunrise to sunset," said Gillson. "They can get sunburned just like any crop. If there's a lot of intense hot heat it can start to burn, so that's something we have to watch out for."

Rogue Farms will harvest all 42 acres in three to four weeks. These hops will be used to brew beer year round.

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