The green gold grows amazingly well in lilling

Meters high, the rich green hop plant entwines itself around the taut wires and forms its umbels – vine after vine. 220 meters long is one of the many hop fields in lilling, whose fruits provide flavor in the beers. When it comes to beer, the whole world looks to lilling. Here, the pingold family and the world’s largest organic hop grower, the franz friedrich family, are two of the only three hop growers from the district of forchheim to cultivate the green gold. Demand has increased enormously in recent years, as confirmed by the other hop growers from the hersbruck seal district, from the hallertau region and from sudtirol, as well as by the nearly one hundred guests who met in the hop fields for information day. In addition to representatives of the hop trade and officials from the office for agriculture, food and forestry in roth for the district of hersbruck, werner brunner from the german hop growers’ association and politicians – above all marlene mortler, member of the european parliament, michael hofmann, member of the state parliament forchheim, and rosi kraus, deputy district administrator (all CSU) – also came to the hop inspection.

Herbruck sealing district

The invitation was extended by the hop growers of the herbruck hop district and the herbruck office of the office for agriculture, food and forestry in roth. Markus eckert, chairman of the hop country hersbruck association, and agricultural director werner wolf emphasized the positive development of hop growing. Meanwhile, on 61.000 hectares of hops planted. 38 hectares of hops pay for the organic area of the world’s largest grower franz friedrich. In spring he still had big problems with the earth flea. If the hops had to be hung on the wire in mid-may, there were hardly any hop plants to be seen in friedrich’s field. "The earth flea had eaten the hops in no time at all. He not only eats the leaves, he continues to eat below as well. The earth flea is greedy", friedrich remembers this frightening situation. Various treatment attempts were then started by friedrich himself. "You have to try a lot yourself. There is too little state support for special crops in the organic sector", says friedrich. He does not mean financial support, but scientific support.

Self-researched

So he did his own research and, after numerous internet searches, found an organic treatment method with a type of gypsum and sprayed whey afterwards. The earth flea was then no longer to be seen. "If there was a remedy, we could use it right away", friedrich appeals to the guests. The results of his experiments speak for the passionate hop grower. "You don’t need a coarse chemical club", affirms friedrich. His chats from the close-up box as he rides from hop field to hop field on two tractors are also an exchange of experiences. "When a plant is diseased, mixtures are needed. You can’t get by anywhere without crop protection", affirmed werner wolf, who praises the good cooperation between conventional hop growers and organic growers. 20 different hop varieties are planted in the hop-growing regions, and several varieties are also planted in the hop fields of lillingen. In front of the "saphir stands claudio pingold. This is a hop variety that can already be processed. But the pingolds also had problems – not with the earth flea, but with the roebuck. Young roebucks, whose horns itch, rub themselves against the vines. This scrubs the grapevine to death. The farmer must be careful that the cane does not die completely. The fruit planted between the hops must also be well considered; claudio is currently trying out the right one. "Sunflowers and mustard have no place in hops", explains friedrich, especially because of the drought. The pests are not the main problem for the hops this year. Peter bodendorfer, responsible for plant protection in the hersbruck seal area, drew attention to this. Rather the changeable weather is negative. In the youth of hops there were nights with only two degrees. It’s too cold for the green gold. The drought is particularly noticeable in hops only one year later, pingold and friedrich explained. Newer varieties are bred to tolerate the drought better. The two hop fields facing each other show where caution is called for. "You can’t just switch from conventional to organic, you also have to take into account your neighbors’ conditions, explains pingold. Care must be taken in the care and protection of the plants so that the permitted product is not blown from one field to the next by the wind.

Praise from the hallertau

"I am amazed that the hops are doing so well", praises hans portner from the hallertau region. "We can also do something", pingold counters on behalf of the hop growers from the district of forchheim, who do not have to hide with their cones. "It’s all about quality", says friedrich. The hop growers hope that the alpha plants have developed well, so that they are more fertile than last year for a good beer. Demand for hops will nevertheless remain greater than supply.

Info

Hops are grown on 73 hectares in the district of forchheim. 209.83 hectares of hops are cultivated in the entire herbruck seal district.

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