Heat, Hops and Barley
Mother Nature is turning up the heat as we wrap up the week here at Rogue Farms. The National Weather Service issued an Excessive Heat Warning that began at noon and runs until early Sunday morning.
Does the heat affect the crops we grow at Rogue Farms in Independence and Tygh Valley, Oregon? Sure it does.
Let’s go through the hops rows and fields to see what’s happening.
Just as the heat kicked in, our seven varieties of hops began flowering. We’re now entering the peak of the growing season. Bines grow 12 inches every day, cones will soon appear where now we see flowers. We’re adjusting our watering schedule to prevent heat stress.
As far as problems go, we don’t expect any. The heat and sun will speed up development of our hops and we’ll expect to harvest a week or two sooner than normal. Perhaps in early August. Hops have thrived in the Willamette Valley for over three centuries. A little hot weather isn’t going to hurt them.
Risk™ Malting Barley: East of Mt. Hood at Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley, our 100 acres of Risk™ malting barley are almost done ripening. The heat will give them a push and we expect to send the combines into the field around the Fourth Of July weekend. That’s about a week ahead of normal and it will be our first harvest of the season.
We’re waiting for moisture levels to drop below 12%, otherwise the barley will be too wet to keep in storage.
McKercher Wheat: Our ten acres of McKercher wheat are ripening right on schedule. Partly green, partly brown – the heat wave will speed up drying and browning. Unless Mother Nature throws us a curve ball, look for harvesting in early August, about a week sooner than average.
Dream Rye: Like our malting barley, our Dream Rye is nearly ready to harvest. It’s mostly brown and the kernels are hardening. The hot weather is accelerating development and the time to reap, rake and thresh the crop could come in the next couple of weeks.
These are the happiest campers on the farm. They are loving the heat! It reminds them of the climate of Mexico where they originated, and of New Mexico where most of the US crop is grown today. It’s way too early to know how this heat spell will affect our harvest schedule. We usually pick our peppers in October. A lot can happen between now and then.
If you don’t mind a little hot weather, this is a great time to check out Rogue Farms. Everything is growing, the honeybees are buzzing and we’re getting ready to begin the season of harvesting our beers, spirits, ciders and sodas. Come join the Revolution!