Establishment of a commercial organic hopyard in a Mediterranean environment: Production attributes and their relationship with soil texture

Roberto Ruggeri, Massimo Tolomio*, Massimo Muganu, Paolo Loreti, Giuseppe Virga, Nicolò Iacuzzi, Francesco Rossini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The cultivated hops are recently moving towards new growing areas in Southern Europe, boosted by the increasing number of craft breweries and by the higher vulnerability to climate change observed, for this crop, in the traditional growing regions. Despite this clear market and geographic trend, there is a lack of knowledge about pedoclimatic needs and agronomic performances of hops grown in the Mediterranean environment. Particularly, the agronomic potential of a new hopyard during its establishment period is poorly studied even in traditional growing zones. Moreover, a restricted number of plants were usually sampled to gather the few data available, thus leading to a probable overestimation of yield performance. A commercial organic hopyard in central Italy was established and a 2-year (2018–2019) field experiment was set-up to accurately investigate the cone and shoot yield potential of cultivar ‘Cascade’ and to understand how such yields are related to each other and to soil texture. Hop plants were two-years old when the experiment started; plant population was 4,000 plants ha−1. Forty points within the hopyard were sampled for soil analysis and yield traits. Data were analyzed accounting for spatial dependence of the sampling points. Results show a negative relation between clay content in the soil and hop yields, even though it was significant only in the exceptional rainy season of 2018. Shoot and cone yield were positively and strongly related, suggesting the green shoot yield in spring as a good predictor of hop production. Both shoot and cone yield significantly increased from the second to the third year (+11% and +16%, respectively); however, the unseasonably high rainfall of 2018 probably lowered the yield of the first experimental year. Cone yield attained over this 2-year study (1.24 t ha−1 and 1.44 t ha−1 for 2018 and 2019, respectively) was within the published ranges for mature plants. Similarly to cone production, shoot dry matter yield was lower in 2018 (197 kg ha−1) than in 2019 (218 kg ha−1). This study provides the first reliable information on both cone and shoot yield potential of a young organic hopyard under Mediterranean climatic conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111720
JournalScientia Horticulturae
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2023


  • Cone yield
  • Hop establishment
  • Hops
  • Humulus lupulus L.
  • Organic
  • Shoot yield
  • Soil texture


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