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Exploring the potential of hop as a dual purpose crop in the Mediterranean environment: shoot and cone yield from nine commercial cultivars

Ruggeri, Roberto, Loreti, Paolo, Rossini, Francesco
European journal of agronomy 2018 v.93 pp. 11-17
Mediterranean climate, byproducts, cultivars, early development, field experimentation, genotype, heat sums, odors, shoots, traditional foods, water content, Italy, Mediterranean region
In hopyard management, surplus shoots are generally considered a useless by-product once hop bine training has been completed. Considering the rising interest towards healthy and traditional foods, they may be a valuable resource, especially for small scale hop farming. Despite this economic and nutritional interest, there is a lack of information about hop shoot yield potential both in the heartlands and new growing areas such as the Mediterranean basin. A 2-year field trial was conducted in Central Italy to investigate the shoot yield potential of nine commercial hop cultivars and how this yield is related to other traits such as earliness of shoot emergence and shoot number and weight. Cone yield potential was also assessed. The results showed that there was significant variability among the genotypes for all characters investigated. Cascade was the highest yielding variety producing 470g of cones per plant (two-year mean) at 10% moisture. The number of shoots per plant varied from 14 of H. Aroma to 29 of Cascade over a two year average, while green shoot yield ranged from 15g per plant of H. Aroma in 2014 to 37.5g per plant of Cascade in 2013. Marketable shoot yield was positively correlated with number of shoots, while no significant correlation was found with average shoot weight.Since the number of shoots was negatively correlated with growing degree days (GDD) to shoot emergence, the early emerging genotypes such as Cascade, Yeoman and H. Magnum outperformed the other cultivars when grown in the Mediterranean environment for shoot production.