Mobile Hops Harvester to be at Lake Erie Hops Conference

-by Tim Weigle

JAMESTOWN, NEW YORK (June 7, 2016) -- Cornell Cooperative Extension Chautauqua County’s Lake Erie Regional Grape Program is excited to announce that while there are currently no hop cones ripe for the picking, participants of the June 11, 2016 Hops Conference at CLEREL in Portland, NY will have the opportunity to see a mobile hops harvester produced by John Bonzo and Jeff Heinz of will be on hand to demonstrate the machine that was recently purchased by the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program for use in harvesting its research and demonstration hop yards. Mechanical harvesting of hops is a necessity for any grower looking to get into hops as it is economically unfeasible to hand harvest. It takes approximately 45 minutes to hand harvest a single mature hop plant. With 750 – 1000 hop plants per acre, as you will quickly run out of friends (not to mention time and beer) to help with the hand harvest. joins Columbus Irrigation, Schmidt Farm, and Whipple Brothers Farms as part of the conference trade show.

Conference participants will have access to a day of informational talks starting with Brad Bergefurd, Horticultural Specialist with Ohio State University speaking on hops nutrition and site selection; Margaret Kelly, NYS Department of Ag & Markets providing the low down on what makes a “clean” plant; Jimmy Walsh, Head Brewer at Five and 20 Spirits and Brewing in Westfield, NY speaking on what brewers are looking for in local hops and Mario Mazza, Five and 20, and Kevin Martin, LERGP, tag teaming a talk on developing marketing contracts and building a strong grower/brewer relationship.

At the end of the day there will be the opportunity to head out into the two research and demonstration hop yards at CLEREL, weather permitting. This will provide the opportunity to see, firsthand, how hop bines are trained, weed control options, cover crops and downy mildew identification.

Cost of the conference is $75 and registration can be done through the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program website . For more information please contact Kate at (717) 792-2800.

The Lake Erie Regional Grape Program is a cooperative effort between Cornell and Penn State Universities; the participating Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations of Chautauqua, Erie, Niagara and Cattaraugus Counties in New York and Erie County in Pennsylvania; and participating industry partners National Grape Cooperative (Welch’s), Constellation Brands and Walkers Fruit Basket. The LERGP extension team provides research-based educational programming for commercial grape growers throughout the year at venues across the Lake Erie grape belt. For more information on LERGP, call 716-792-2800 or visit our website at

The Lake Erie Regional Grape Program is one of many programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County (CCE-Chautauqua). CCE-Chautauqua is a community based educational organization, affiliated with Cornell University, Chautauqua County Government, the NYS SUNY system, and the federal government through the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. For more information, call 716-664-9502 or visit our website at Cornell University Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.

Last updated July 26, 2016