How to become a hop producer?

How to become a hop grower?

The installation in agriculture is already an obstacle course, but becoming a hop producer is an even more difficult challenge to achieve, but if you are stung by hop fever: then we explain the stages and levers to live from the production of hops.

Where to start to set up a hop project?

Answer: By the ground!

The best way, in our opinion, to get to know hops is to plant it, to see it evolve on the guardian wire, to understand its vegetative cycle, to learn about the different stages of cultivation: planting, watering, wire , treatments, harvest.
Choose a few varieties, test them in several places in your plot or garden, and follow the rhythm of the vine for a whole season, so you will understand its needs and adapt your project accordingly.

Meet the brewers in your area
At beer fairs (there are more than 200 throughout France!), or by taking your pilgrim's staff, ideally equipped with your latest fresh harvest, guided by the fabulous work of Emmanuel Gillard: La map of French breweries, or the Rigal professional beer directory. Ask them, between two urchins, which varieties they use, in what quantity, do they want organic or not… The brewers will give you valuable information that will guide you in your future choices.
Also meet hop producers
There are now all over France! Even if the most experienced are in the Far North and the Far East, many hop growers newly established in the rest of France have nothing to be ashamed of the quality of their production. They can take you on an internship, an apprenticeship, you can also try wwoofing, more and more of them are welcoming wwoofers, in exchange for accommodation and food. Document these experiences with photos, videos, notebooks, all these elements will be invaluable, and you will come back to them often, when you are in the hard, shovel in hand in your hop field!

Learn how to grow hops

There are hop formations, even if they are still too rare, rather in the northern and eastern part of France: the essential is undoubtedly

that of the Lycée Agricole d’Obernai,lasting 105 hours, in several half-theoretical, half-practical sessions throughout the vegetative cycle of hops.

HOPSTOCK also organizes training with partner Chambers of Agriculture, contact us at formations@hopstock.frto find out the next dates in your region.

Local associations sometimes organize initiations to the cultivation of hops, in partnership with the Houblons de France association: Houblons de Normandie,APHARA , Beer from Provence.

Find the perfect land for your hop farm

Rich, deep soil
The roots can go down to 2M, even if 1m of soil is often enough without causing any discomfort. The silty-clay texture is ideal, avoid plots containing more than 40% clay, which would complicate weeding and access to the land. A sandy-loamy or sandy-clayey texture is also suitable. Soil “rather” draining, avoid soils that are often flooded in winter. however, avoid soils that are too sandy, which often require heavy irrigation and amendments to meet the NPK needs of the hops.
Plot near the farm
In the spring and especially during the harvest, you will multiply the round trips on the plot: a harvester-trailer, allowing the collection and export of the vines from the plot to be mechanised, can contain a hundred vines, there are 5000 vines of hops per hectare, which makes 50 round trips per hectare, by tractor, that makes the hour counter go up, and especially of GNR!
4 right angles
A hopyard structure is a mesh of cables resting on wooden posts (most of the time), themselves supported by anchors which act as counterweights in the ground. The structural study work is essential before launching and guarantees a good balance of the loads, prefer as far as possible structures with 4 right angles to guarantee

Prepare a financing plan

Any agricultural project requires a little economic anticipation: what investments, what costs, what yields, and what market for my hops?

In other sectors, the figures are well known, but for hops, it’s a different story: what is the average price of a hop picker? how many plants per hectare, what average organic yields? To help you in the calibration of your project, we have worked to gather all the answers to these questions in an excel simulator: here it is..

Look for hop material

One of the limiting factors of a hop project is access to specific hop equipment: fischer tool, hop picker (sometimes called “hop sorter”), dryer, press, harvester trailer, poles, cables, plants: it takes time to gather all this information, find second-hand opportunities, request quotes, etc.

For 4 years, we have been helping producers to remove these obstacles, by organizing group purchases of equipment to benefit from reductions, by restoring harvesters, fischer tools and hop dryers. A team of 9 people in purchasing, order preparation, the mechanical workshop, the nursery work there all year round to support hop projects.

Get started!

A poorly prepared project often leads to failure, like any agricultural crop, hops bring their share of surprises, good or not so good. But if the financial lights are green, you’ve seen and reviewed the particularities of the hops technical route, the fog surrounding the market outlook has cleared, you feel confident in this new project, don’t let don’t hesitate to get the better of your motivation!

We can support you in your project, let us know your ideas, and let us guide you!

Send us an email to arrange a phone call:

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