New study suggests controlled-environment hops production is easier than previously thought
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New study suggests controlled-environment hops production is easier than previously thought

Research from Bill Bauerle of Colorado State University shows that vernalization and dormancy do not affect hop quality or yield.

November 22, 2019

Hops production may be more viable in greenhouses and controlled environments than previously thought, according to a new study published in Scientific Reports.

Bill Bauerle, professor of ecophysiology and plant stress physiology in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Colorado State University, has published a new paper titled “Disentangling photoperiod from hop vernalization and dormancy for global production and speed breeding.”

The study, conducted in a controlled environment through 13 crop cycles, challenges previously held beliefs that hop plants require dormancy and vernalization to produce inflorescences, or “cones,” which are essential ingredients for brewing beer.

“Vernalization and dormancy, two plant traits previously considered necessary to the proliferation of hop flowers, do not influence hop flower yield and quality,” Bauerle wrote in the Scientific Reports paper, which was published earlier in November.

Without the vernalization requirement, greenhouse and controlled-environment-agriculture producers could produce more yields of hops, according to the study.

“The findings have broad implications; global hop production can be distributed more widely and it paves the way for speed breeding and controlled-environment production to achieve 4 hop generation cycles per year, as opposed to 1 under field-grown conditions,” Bauerle wrote.

Greenhouse Management published information about hops’ alleged vernalization requirements in its June 2019 cover story, which featured greenhouse growers of both young and mature hop plants.

Read the full study here.