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By Anne Iskra

August is Here!

By early July, most (if not all) of our hops have reached the top wire. At this point they begin to grow out rather than up. It might seem like things would slow down and we just wait for harvest to get here, but there is still plenty to do and see in the field.

During cone development, it is critical to continue to monitor and control for insect pests and diseases. It is difficult to predict if there will be an issue or not, so the best thing to do is watch closely and keep a pulse on what is happening in the field. To do this, we utilize various sources of information - some of which include scouting data, aerial images, feedback from our crew – and some of which we see directly in the field. Two of the most important factors to consider are weather forecasts and what we see when we are physically in the field. The weather is a large factor in determining disease pressure (the likelihood that we will see disease in our fields) and knowing what the plants physically look like (canopy structure and growth stage) can help determine what to do next. When in the field, I am looking at the yard as a whole - the topography, what is growing next to our fields, wind and sun patterns, etc. I am also looking at the sub-leaf level of our plants - what is on the leaves, and what the leaves look like – as well as everything in between!

Above:First year Amarillo® (and Tater Tot)

Humans are amazing at integrating information. We are capable of taking in vast amounts of observations, the challenge comes when you need to turn those observations into a decision. This comes with practice. The more you see things the more you know if it is normal and how the situation might progress. The weather is always a wild card. Here in Oregon, our summers are typically warm and dry, but this is never a guarantee. There is always an exception to the rule, and when that happens, we work together to find the best solution as quickly as possible. The thing about farming is that you don’t get to decide the timeline or schedule, the plants do that…you just do your best to work with them. While I often describe July as a time when we are at our cruising altitude, it is a time when our teamwork and agility is put to the test.

Above: Strata®

With careful observation and lots of excitement, we begin our countdown to harvest!

-Anne Iskra, Agronomist

Check out more Beyond the Box blog posts HERE and stay tuned for additional harvest updates throughout the season. Cheers!