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Hopyard String Theory

The first big event of the hops growing season is stringing the trellis wires in the Rogue Farms Hopyard.


There are thousands of strings, made from Sri Lanka cocoanut husks, that are tied to the wires, dropped to the ground, and staked into the hop rows.

As you’ll see in the photos, it takes military like precision to get it all done right.

Our starting point, an empty looking Hopyard. What you can’t see are the tiny hop bines just starting to grow.
Our starting point, an empty looking Hopyard. What you can’t see are the tiny hop bines just starting to grow.
The crew rides on top of a specially build platform to tie each string to the trellis wires.
The crew rides on top of a specially build platform to tie each string to the trellis wires.
They grab the string from large bundles that dangle from the railings.
They grab the string from large bundles that dangle from the railings.
Using a well rehearsed knot they can tie each string in mere seconds.
Using a well rehearsed knot they can tie each string in mere seconds.
Another crew follows to stake the strings into the ground.
Another crew follows to stake the strings into the ground.
The stakes are pushed into the hop rows by hand.
The stakes are pushed into the hop rows by hand.
And then by foot to draw the strings taut.
And then by foot to draw the strings taut.
Each string will have to carry the load of one to four hop bines.
Each string will have to carry the load of one to four hop bines.
Without a trellis system, the hops bines would spread across the ground and rot before they produced cones.
Without a trellis system, the hops bines would spread across the ground and rot before they produced cones.
The work is done and the Rogue Farms Hopyard is ready for for the bines to start growing up the strings and spread over the trellis wires.
The work is done and the Rogue Farms Hopyard is ready for for the bines to start growing up the strings and spread over the trellis wires.
Here’s what we can expect to see in about a month.
Here’s what we can expect to see in about a month.

The trellis system we use at the Rogue Farms Hopyard was developed in California in the late 1800s. It gives the hops maximum exposure to the sun during our long summer days. Hops need 15 or more hours of sunlight during the peak of the growing season. Which is why most hops are grown between the 45th and 55th parallels.

You can grow hops south of here, we’ve even seen a hopyard in southern Arizona! But studies have shown that yield and quality suffers greatly when you grow hops that far away from the “sweet spot”.