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Cover Up At Rogue Farms

There’s two things you can count on during winter at Rogue Farms in Independence, Oregon. It’s going to rain, and it’s probably going to flood.


One of our most important chores this time of year is to protect the soil from erosion during the winter rainy season. And the best way to do that is to plant some barley.

Here we are plowing the soil between the hop rows. The ground is covered with a stubble of left over bines, twine and plant debris. It all gets broken up and plowed back into the earth.
Here we are plowing the soil between the hop rows. The ground is covered with a stubble of left over bines, twine and plant debris. It all gets broken up and plowed back into the earth.

The barley we’re planting this week is called a cover crop. It’s only purpose is to prevent soil erosion. It will never be harvested, malted or mashed into a beer or spirit.

A look at our seed driller. Small discs carve furrows into the earth and then the driller drops in the barley seeds. That’s followed by a mesh made of chains that pushes all the soil back into place.
A look at our seed driller. Small discs carve furrows into the earth and then the driller drops in the barley seeds. That’s followed by a mesh made of chains that pushes all the soil back into place.
The barley sprouts emerged within a couple of days after we seeded the hop rows.
The barley sprouts emerged within a couple of days after we seeded the hop rows.

By the time the rainy season begins, the roots will have formed a complex web that will hold the soil in place. The stalks will be more than a foot high and, if it floods, they will lay down over the dirt like giant woven rug.

Heavy rains and floods are part of the natural cycle of things at Rogue Farms. Centuries of flooding created the rich soil in our hopyard. Keeping that soil here on the farm is one of the most important things we do to continue growing healthy hops, pumpkins, wheat, corn, peppers and honey.
Heavy rains and floods are part of the natural cycle of things at Rogue Farms. Centuries of flooding created the rich soil in our hopyard. Keeping that soil here on the farm is one of the most important things we do to continue growing healthy hops, pumpkins, wheat, corn, peppers and honey.

We’re blessed to have some of the best hops growing soil anywhere, and we have rain and floods to thank for that. So we learn to adapt to what ever Mother Nature sends our way.

Come visit us at Rogue Farms this autumn and try one of our beers and spirits on the very farm where we grew the ingredients. Grow The Revolution!

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