Michigan hop crop report for the week of June 6, 2022
So far, so good.
Weekly weather review
Last week began warmer than normal and then it became cooler as the week progressed. Going back to the beginning of March, most areas of the state are a few growing degree days to a week ahead of average. In terms of precipitation, rainfall has been heaviest in southern areas of the state. Most areas of the state have received slightly more precipitation (inches) than average.
According to MSU agricultural meteorologist, Jeff Andresen, there will be increasing clouds Wednesday with a chance of afternoon showers. Thursday will be partly sunny and pleasant across most of the state. There is a chance of precipitation on Friday. This weekend will be partly cloudy and cool with isolated showers possible. The greatest chance of precipitation next week will be across sections of southern Michigan. Temperatures will be in the high 60s to low 70s to round out this week and early next week will be warmer- 70s to low 80s. The NOAA 6-10 outlook predicts slightly below to near normal temperatures for most of Michigan and near normal precipitation through June 12.
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 depending upon growing location.
In the field
Plant height is dependent on growing location and cultivar. Early cultivars are 4-12 feet in southern areas of the state, while later cultivars have just been trained. In northern Michigan, plants are about 3-6 feet on average. Growers have reported occasional downy mildew in susceptible cultivars and no signs of powdery mildew at this time, suggesting that preventative spays have been successful. Cultivating and hilling are 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.
Growers are actively managing hop nutrient requirements. Leaf+ petiole sampling for SAP analysis is underway. If growers are not using SAP analysis, MSU recommends that growers take leaf+ petiole samples for analysis when hops reach 8-10 feet (pull samples from 5-6 feet) and again when they hit the wire (~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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grass weeds have taken off and need to be treated when small for optimal control. 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 email@example.com.
Several hop downy mildew reports have been received from growers. Also, in research plots we have observed signs and symptoms of the disease over the past week (see photos below). With this cool weather we expect sporulation to continue and symptoms to become more obvious throughout the state, this is a rough downy mildew year because it isn't very hot. However, in some cases there may still be time to retrain shoots if lateral aerial spikes have been observed (see photos). The concern with lateral aerial spikes is that bines may fall off and never reach the wire.
We have also heard reports of the first symptoms of halo blight occurring on leaves in southwest Michigan. Halo blight management 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.
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. Dr. Tim Miles will join us on the Hop Chat June 22 to discuss this emerging issue.
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.
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.
First flight of European corn borer is approaching. 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. Currently, GDD50 accumulation in the lower peninsula ranges from 92-238 with 450 GDD50 falling outside of the forecast data range currently. Historically first flight has occurred in early June. First generation moth emergence continues for 500 GDD (through 950 GDD base 50) with females laying 200-500 eggs over a period of two to three weeks.
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.”
Potato leafhopper (PLH) numbers are slowly growing as the initial arrivals from the southern states reproduce locally. 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.
Two-spotted spider mite (TSSM) populations are building, due in part to warm temperatures. 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.
Growers should expect to see rose chafer emerging in the coming week or so. 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.
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.
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.