Last Thursday (8/31) we began to harvest Centennial, followed by Cascade and Columbus. While those were the first varieties in, they are also some of our top yielding varieties this year. Our Hopster 5P is working quite well, and depending on the species and size of the plant, we can see very clean (low leaf material) hops coming out of the machine. We've built a small-scale drier to bring the moisture down to the required amount, and it is working really well. Below are some of the pictures of the harvest and drying process. Some of the photos were taken by one of our students and are available at http://www.montanaagphoto.com/NWC/.
We also discovered that some of the discoloration in Centennial hops was due to thrips (Frankliniella tritici) feeding on the bracts of the cone. These were noticeable when the cone was handled. Blow are pictures of the damage caused by thrips and the thrips themselves.