Michigan hop crop report for the week of June 20, 2022

Growers actively manage hop nutrient and water needs.

Healthy hopyard in southwest Michigan. Photo by Rick Kawalski.

Weekly weather review

On the morning of June 21, 2022, the sun reached the Tropic of Cancer, and the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. There were heat advisories across Michigan with the potential for record setting temperatures, flash floods in New Mexico, and frost warnings in northern Maine. This trend continues an interesting year of extremes.

This past week we experienced warm temperatures across the state and variable rainfall. Apart from certain areas of the upper peninsula, temperatures over the last week were above average, especially in southwest Michigan (see average temperature graphic).

Some locations, especially North Central and Northeast Michigan saw over 2 inches of rain over the last few days. Most areas received 0.5-1 inch of precipitation (see accumulated precipitation graphic and monthly precipitation by region).

accumulated weekly precip graph

mrcc weekly temp departure from mean

While precipitation was average to above average this spring, increasing evapotranspiration across the state has resulted in declining in soil moisture levels over the last couple of months (See current soil moisture graphic).


monthly precip charts

Looking ahead

It will be mostly sunny and slightly cooler June 22 and 23 before warming up June 24 and 25. There is a chance of precipitation this weekend, but since there is not much moisture to work with, there is only a possible chance of scattered showers. Next week will be mostly dry and warm with high, above normal water demand. Late next week temperatures should be more seasonable and perhaps even cooler than normal. The NOAA 6-10 day outlook predicts near normal temperatures and precipitation for most of the lower peninsula through July 2.

Temperature graph.

Precipitation graph.
NOAA 6-10 day forecasts. Source: NOAA.

View the most recent MSU agriculture weather forecast.

Stage of production/physiology

Hops across Michigan are in Principal Growth Stage 1: Leaf Development and entering Growth Stage 2: Formation of Side Shoots and 3: Elongation of Bines, and 4: Inflorescence emergence in southern Michigan.

phenological growth stages

In the field

Plant height is dependent on growing location and cultivar. Plants in southern Michigan have hit the wire or are approaching the wire. In northern Michigan, plants are 6-12 feet on average. Across the state we’ve seen occasional downy mildew spikes in susceptible cultivars and only one report of powdery mildew. Cultivating is underway in northern Michigan and chemical burnback of lower foliage is underway in southern Michigan. Pests have been light up to this point, although leafhoppers, mites, and the first adult corn borers have been spotted.

Hopyard in southern Michigan, June 21, 2022. Photo by Rose Stahl.
Northwest Michigan hopyard.
Hopyard in northwest Michigan, June 21, 2022. Photo by Rob Sirrine.
Effects of side disking.
Effects of side-disking in northwest Michigan. Photo by Rob Sirrine.


Growers are actively managing hop nutrients. Leaf+ petiole sampling for SAP analysis is underway. If growers are not using SAP analysis, MSU recommends that growers take leaf plus petiole samples for analysis when hops reach 8-10 feet (pull samples from 5-6 feet) and again when they hit the wire (about 18 feet, pull samples from 1 feet below wire) to determine if supplement nutrients are needed. MSU recently updated their nitrogen fertilization recommendations for Michigan hop producers.

2022 nitrogen fertility recommendations. Source: Rob Sirrine, MSU Extension.

Current recommendations are based upon nitrogen fertility and hop cone quality research conducted by Anne Iskra and colleagues at Washington State and Oregon State Universities. Cumulative nitrogen should not exceed 160 pounds/acre/year and most, if not all, nitrogen should be applied June 1 – July 15. Excessive nitrogen does not improve yields and total oil volume and alpha- and beta-acids has been found to decrease with increasing nitrogen rates.

Pest report

If you are unsure of what is causing symptoms in the field, you can submit a sample to MSU Plant & Pest Diagnostics. Visit the webpage for specific information about how to collect, package, ship and image plant samples for diagnosis. If you have any doubt about what or how to collect a good sample, please contact the lab at 517-432-0988 or pestid@msu.edu.


Conditions have been great for weed seed germination and plant development, growers missing early weed sprays may struggle to suppress weeds in the row. Weeds are most easily controlled when under 3 inches and using a multi-pronged approach. Refer to the Michigan Hop Management Guide for weed control options. For weed identification, check out Plant & Pest Diagnostics’ Plant and Weed Identification page or send photos to pestid@msu.edu


Hop Disease Scouting Calendar

Downy mildew levels are high in some yards, particularly those with susceptible cultivars. As temperatures increase and the forecast dries out, pressure will be reduced but growers should remain vigilant, particularly as cones develop. Halo blight has also been observed. Cultural practices for both diseases include anything that can reduce the understory weeds (which will decrease humidity) and anything that dries the canopy out more quickly. For an in-depth update on disease management in hop, check out Tim Mile’s presentation on the June 22, 2022, Hop Chat, posted on the Michigan State University Hop News Facebook Page.

Downy mildew on hops.
Significant chlorosis and sporulation of a downy mildew spike observed in an unsprayed research yard in East Lansing, Michigan. Photo by Timothy Miles.
Downy mildew on leaf.
Upper surface of a downy mildew infected leaf in East Lansing, Michigan. Photo by Timothy Miles.
Downy mildew on leaf.
Underside of the same infected leaf in East Lansing MI. Photo by Timothy Miles.
Downy mildew on leaf.
Lateral aerial spike which will cause this bine to prematurely die and not reach the wire. Photo by Timothy Miles.

Downy mildew is caused by the fungal-like organism Pseudoperonospora humuli and is a significant disease of hop in Michigan, potentially causing substantial yield and quality losses. This disease affects cones, and foliage and can become systemic; in extreme cases the crown may die. Cool and damp weather during the spring provide ideal growth conditions for the pathogen. Disease severity is dependent on cultivar, environmental conditions, and management programs. Growers should focus on proactive management strategies, including 1) sourcing clean planting stock, 2) clean crown management in the spring, 3) scouting regularly and 4) utilizing a preventative fungicide program. Refer to the Michigan Hop Management Guide section on downy mildew for additional management information.

Halo blight caused by Diaporthe humulicola causes cone and leaf lesions and cases cones to shatter during the harvesting process. Halo blight is relatively widespread in Michigan with growers reporting up to 50% yield loss due to shatter. Research on the biology and management of halo blight is underway. 

Powdery mildew of hop (caused by the fungus Podosphaera macularis) is an emerging disease in Michigan that has serious implications for growers. Powdery mildew was confirmed in Michigan in 2014 and has been a concern on greenhouse/nursery plants for years. Seasonal disease severity is dependent on cultivar, environmental conditions and management programs. Focus on proactive management strategies, including sourcing clean planting stock, scouting regularly and utilizing a preventative fungicide management program.

Powdery mildew resulting from bud infection appears in the spring white stunted shoots called “flag shoots.” Flag shoots are rare, accounting for less than 1 percent of all shoots in a field and making detection at this stage very difficult. Secondary lesions become visible as leaf tissue expands and first appear as raised blisters, which quickly develop into white, round colonies. Infected burrs and cones can also support white fungal colonies or may exhibit a reddish discoloration if infected later in development.

Burrs and young cones are very susceptible to infection, which can lead to cone distortion, substantial yield reduction, diminished alpha-acids content, color defects, premature ripening, off-aromas and complete crop loss. Cones become somewhat less susceptible to powdery mildew with maturity, although they never become fully immune to the disease. Infection during the later stages of cone development can lead to browning and hastened maturity. Alpha-acids typically are not influenced greatly by late-season infections, but yield can be reduced by 20 percent or more due to shattering of overly dry cones during harvest resulting from accelerated maturity.

Late-season powdery mildew can be easily confused with other diseases such as Alternaria cone disorder, gray mold, other cone diseases or spider mite damage. Several weak pathogens and secondary organisms can be found on cones infected by powdery mildew; limiting powdery mildew can reduce these secondary infections.

Powdery mildew on leaves.
Powdery mildew on leaves, causing raised lesions and white fungal colonies to be visible. Photo by Erin Lizotte, MSU Extension.

Scouting for powdery mildew involves monitoring the crop for signs and symptoms of disease and evaluating the efficacy of the control program being utilized. Keep records of your scouting, including maps of fields, a record of sampling and disease pressure, as well as the control measures utilized. Section your farm off into manageable portions based on location, size and variety and scout these areas separately. It is more practical to deal with blocks that are of the same variety, age and spacing. Walk diagonally across the yard and along an edge row to ensure you view plants from both the edge and inner portion of the block. Change the path you walk each time you scout to inspect new areas. Reexamine hotspots where you have historically encountered high mildew pressure. Due to increased humidity, hotspots may occur more often near tree lines or in low-lying wet areas of the yard. Scout as soon as plant or pests become active and continue until the crop or pest is dormant. Weekly scouting is recommended at a minimum.

Please consult the MSU Extension article, “Managing hop powdery mildew in Michigan in 2020,” for more specific details about how to manage powdery mildew using other cultural practices and chemical applications.


Hop Insect Scouting Calendar

is winding down in the central and southern parts of the state and growers are reporting limited pressure with very few egg observations in hop. Much of northern Michigan remains in the first-generation adult fight period. European corn borer overwinters as larvae inside the host plant where it pupates in response to warming temperatures in spring. First generation flight of moths is expected at 450 growing degree days (GDD) base 50, based on a March 1 start date for GDD accumulation. 

At this time, all major hop production regions are predicted to be within the period of first-generation adult moth emergence which will continue through 950 GDD base 50. As adults emerge, they mate, and females lay eggs. Growers are advised to carefully scout for adult moths and eggs on the underside of hop leaves. Growers can use the Enviroweather European Corn Borer Model, to better predict flight and egg-laying in their area.

GDD map.
Cumulative GDD base 50 F, March 1 - June 21, 2022. Source: MSU Enviroweather.

Egg development is driven primarily by temperature, but generally eggs hatch in approximately 12 days. Newly hatched larvae then feed externally on leaves for approximately seven days before boring into stems and petioles where they continue to feed and grow. This larval feeding period is the critical window for control.

Once inside the plant, observations in hop indicate that European corn borer larvae damage vascular tissue, disrupt the flow of nutrients and water and impede plant development. Since 2019, European corn borer larvae have found in leaf petioles, sidearms, cone petioles (strigs) and bines. There are a number of effective insecticides for managing European corn borer and they should be applied to control larvae before they enter the protection of the bine. Growers with substantial infestations should also carefully dispose of crop waste including chopped bines at the picking line. Consider burying or hot composting crop debris both from the processing line and the field to limit carryover into the next season.

Managing for European corn borer takes a multipronged approach including careful monitoring and targeted pesticide applications. A regular schedule of insecticide applications based on insecticidal residual activity should be maintained from the beginning of egg hatch until two weeks before harvest or when larvae are no longer detected. For more information on European corn borer, refer to the Iowa State University publication, “European Corn Borer – Ecology and Management and Association with other Corn Pests.” 

For more information on European corn borer management, refer to the MSU Extension article, “Be on the lookout for European corn borer in hops.”

European corn borer moth in hop. Photo courtesy of Michigan hop grower.
European corn borer moth in hop. Photo courtesy of Michigan hop grower.
Eggs on leaf
European corn borer eggs on underside of hop leaves. Photo courtesy of Michigan hop grower.
Frass and bine damage associated with active European corn borer larvae in hop. Photo by Erin Lizotte, MSU Extension.

Potato leafhopper (PLH) numbers are up across the state. Like many plants, hops are sensitive to the saliva of PLH, which is injected by the insect while feeding. Damage to leaf tissue can reduce photosynthesis, which can impact production, quality, and cause death in baby plants. To learn more about Potato leafhopper, refer to the Hop Potato Leafhopper Factsheet.

adult PLH
Adult potato leafhopper on hop. Photo by Erin Lizotte, MSU Extension.

Two-spotted spider mite (TSSM) populations are building, due in part to warm temperatures. As the weather dries out, growers should carefully monitor mite pressure as TSSM thrive under hot and dry conditions. TSSM is a significant pest of hop in Michigan and can cause complete economic crop loss when high numbers occur. Feeding decreases the photosynthetic ability of the leaves and causes direct mechanical damage to the hop cones. Leaves take on a bronzed and white appearance and can defoliate under high pressure. Intense infestations weaken plants, reducing yield and quality. Dry, hot weather provides ideal conditions for outbreaks.

Growers are encouraged to scout carefully for mites season-long and treat while populations are at low levels, when mites are most effectively managed. Refer to the Two spotted spider mite factsheet for more information on identification and management.

TSSM Lizotte
Two-spotted spider mite adult along hop midvein under magnification. Photo by Erin Lizotte, MSU Extension.

Growers are likely seeing rose chafer activity. Rose chafers (RC) are considered a generalist pest and affect many crops, particularly those found on or near sandy soils or grassy areas conducive to grub development. The adult beetles feed heavily on foliage and blossom parts of numerous horticultural crops and can cause significant damage to hop plants, particularly young plants with limited leaf area. Rose chafer skeletonize leaf tissue, giving them a fine lace-like appearance. RC cause simple mechanical damage so growers should consider that established plants can sustain a significant amount of leaf feeding from RC with no negative implications to the plant or crop. Young plants with limited leaf area may require more aggressive management. Chafer activity has typically subsided by the time burrs are present, so yield reductions are not an issue. For more information, refer to the Rose Chafer Factsheet.

RC Lizotte
Rose chafer beetles mating and feeding on hop. Photo by Erin Lizotte, MSU Extension.

Other news

Grower input is needed on disease management in hopyards. Take our MSU hop disease survey.

Save the date for our MSU Hop Research Field Day on July 13.

For more information on hop production practices, sign up for the FREE MSU Hop Chat Series.

MSU Extension sincerely thanks the Michigan hop producers who provide timely input for the Michigan hop crop report.

Please continue to visit Michigan State University Extension’s Hops website and the MSU Hops News Facebook site for up to date information.

This work is supported by the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program [grant no 2021- 70006-35450] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the North Central IPM Center. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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