After the climatically favoured, best harvesting years 2019 (2,909,75 tonnes) and 2020 (2,850,82 tonnes), the hop growers have started the new season in the two largest cultivation areas in Germany positively and optimistically.
Spring 2021 has so far shown itself to very cool, rainy and with vegetation delayed by about 2-3 weeks, but which, as of today, has led to no conclusions for the yield results. In the meantime, all hop shoots are on the growing wires and have begun their growth phase to the final 7-8 m height. It has been possible to carry out all spring work, if with time lags. After 2020, in 2021 as well the extensive guidelines as per the regulations regarding distance and hygiene measures, testing, entry, quarantines, accommodation for the seasonal workers from Rumania and Poland because of Covid-19 must be adhered to and implemented. This has caused considerable extra expenditure and costs for the businesses, but also contributes greatly to the safety and maintenance of the health of employers and employees. As a rule, there are sufficiently available seasonal workers.
According to the statistical surveys, the number of production business has remained constant at 124. The cultivation areas have increased from 1,479 ha to 1,494 ha (+ 1%). Previously, there were 23 various types under cultivation in the Tettnang cultivation area, this number has increased to 25 with the new varieties Akoya and Aurum. The largest individual variety with 682 ha (minus 37 ha) continues to be the eponymous and typical local variety Tettnanger. The greatest increases have been registered by Perle (+ 24 ha), Hallertauer Tradition (+14 ha) and Herkules (+12 ha). Only one business previously grew hops on ecological principles, there are now additional businesses and areas in the conversion phase. Currently, about 50% of the areas and volumes are already being produced sustainably under the SAI Standards (SAI = Sustainable Agriculture Initiative), and this proportion for 2021 is likely to increase by about 70%. A large part of the nationally and internationally stipulated sustainability criteria, currently 113 provisions, are regulated in Germany through existing laws and specific legislation. 26 additional, in part, hop-specific criteria of the economy, ecology and social sustainability, are assessed, documented and checked via the NH (sustainability) self-check. The German hop growing sector is thus fulfilling the desires of the customers and societally required changes.
If the second and third Corona waves have led to a drop off in demand, we now, with globally falling incidence figures for the brewery, catering and hop industries, look optimistically to the future. The further development of the hop year 2021 for cultivation and sales remains to be seen.