Growing Ohio Hops

According to The Ohio State University’s (OSU) Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), the state’s beer manufacturers spend an estimated $4 million a year purchasing hops — an essential component of beer — from out-of-state growers. In response, OARDC is launching a first-of-its-kind research program in an effort to increase home-grown hops production.

Beginning this fall, OARDC’s research will evaluate new hop cultivars, production techniques, harvesting, processing and even marketing tools. Early research has shown that hops could be grown in the sandy soil near Lake Erie as well as the heavy clay soil of southern Ohio.

“This will allow Ohio’s beer manufacturers to spend their money in Ohio by purchasing Ohio-grown hops and ultimately help create Ohio jobs,” said Brad Bergefurd, an OSU extension agriculture educator in a recent OARDC news release. “This crop may allow Ohio growers to diversify into a high-value specialty crop.”

Currently, most of U.S. hops production takes place in the northwestern corner of the nation. With the growth of microbreweries throughout Ohio, the demand for hops is certainly increasing. While some hops are already grown in the state, it’s mostly on a small scale or by home brewers with garden space.

OSU researchers estimate that within the first year growers can expect a hops yield of 200 to 1,800 pounds per acre with an estimated value of $2,000 to $25,200. By the second year, researchers estimate 500 to 2,200 pounds per acre valued at $7,000 to $30,800.

Now, that’s something for Ohio growers to be “hoppy” about!

What do you think about homegrown-hops production? Is this a good idea for Ohio growers?

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Preparing Bins for Grain Storage

Before you harvest your corn and soybean crops this year, make sure you have taken all of the necessary steps to prepare your bins for storage. provides a helpful checklist to help farmers prepare their grain bins for this year’s fall harvest.
  • Clean empty grain bins: Remove old grain, clean and sanitize aeration ducts, augers and other places insects could feed on dust and fine material
  • Service and operate grain bin fans: Inspect burners, fan housings, fan blades, belts, guards, bearings, and electrical controls and switches
  • Inspect dryers and operate prior to use: Calibrate your grain-moisture meter to avoid over-drying or under-drying grain and then finish the job with a thorough cleaning, particularly of stand-alone dryers
  • Install a monitoring system in every grain bin: Such systems employ moisture and temperature sensors suspended from bin roofs that help analyze data and use preset moisture and temperature target goals for each bin
  • Check fan capacity on large grain bins: It is crucial that larger bins (42 to 48 feet in diameter) be equipped with fans capable of pushing .3 cubic feet of air per minute per bushel through the bin
  • Pull auger flighting from grain bin un-loaders and check for wear: 10 to 15 percent of wear can decrease an auger's capacity by 25 percent and increase grain damage
  • Core grain bins immediately after the harvest: Remove the accumulation of fine material that often builds up in the center (core) of the bin during filling so that the grain stored there receives adequate airflow

What have you done to prepare your grain bins for the fall harvest? Do you have any tips that weren’t mentioned?

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