Hop season expectations in Yakima Valley - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hop season expectations in Yakima Valley

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YAKIMA, WA - The Yakima Valley grows about 75 percent of our country's hops, and this year is no different.

This season, experts with YCH Hops predict that 85 to 90 million pounds of hops will be harvested.

"I think overall, it'll be a good average to maybe slightly above average crop," said Steve Carpenter, chief operations officer at YCH Hops.

This past winter played a big role in the harvest. More snow meant more irrigation water, but with the good comes the bad.

"A lot of growers were late getting into their fields; typically they want to get in their in February, but with the snow on the ground, that delayed some of the spring work," said Carpenter.

The cold climate also resulted in rodents living in some fields.

"When they ran out of all the weed seed and everything else they were eating, they started chewing on the hop rhizomes and that's caused some damage that I haven't seen in a long time here in the valley," Carpenter said.

The crop also faced other problems like mites and dehydration. But despite the obstacles, the forecast is still good.

As soon as harvest is over later this month, farmers will begin on working on next year's.

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