The Slovenia Times

Hops in Savinja Valley severely damaged by Sunday hail


Tabor/Žalec - Sunday's hail storms have wreaked havoc in the Savinja Valley damaging around 80% of the hops grown in the area, meaning this year's harvest will be rather poor. Roman Žveglič, president of the Slovenian Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry (KGZS), visited the area on Tuesday, saying the chamber will call on the government for aid.

The KGZS will ask the government to supplement the emergency law passed this year to help farmers whose crops had been affected by frost this spring, he told the press.

He finds it right that hops growers affected by hail be included in the law.

Some 475 hectares of hops have been damaged in the Savinja Valley and another 17% in the Celje area, central to north-eastern Slovenia.

Speaking for the STA on Monday, hops specialist Irena Friškovec said the country will have a below-average hops harvest this year, mostly due to weather conditions.

Cold in April and May slowed down growth, with some hop varieties lagging behind by up to three weeks compared to a years-long average in May, she explained.

The cold start of the year was followed by very high temperatures coupled with a lack of rain in June and early July, so irrigation was needed.

"All this has left a mark on the growth and development of hops," Friškovec said.

Weather in the second half of August, before harvesting begins in 10-14 days, should give the final idea about the harvest.

"But everything indicates that this year's harvest will be below average in terms of quantity."

This year, a total of 123 farmers are growing hops on 1,433 hectares of land, which is over 50% more than last year.

Most of them are growing the Aurora variety (41%), Celeia (29%) and Golding (almost 10%), while new Slovenian varieties developed in recent years at the Slovenian Institute of Hops Research and Brewing from Žalec are grown on over 8% of the land.

Hops is grown on around 1% of Slovenia's agricultural land, mostly in the Savinja Valley, Ptuj area, Drava Valley and Koroška region.

Slovenia is Europe's third largest hops producer, with its hops production accounting for 2.5% of the world production in 2018, government data shows.

The Gorenjska region in the north-west was also affected by hail on Sunday, in Šenčur and Cerklje na Gorenjskem municipalities.

Since wheats have already been harvested there, the hail mostly hit corn and vegetables.

A hail storm also hit the area of Ptuj in Podravje region, north-east, on Friday, damaging vegetables, pumpkins and vineyards.

Some 20% of the crops in the Žužemberk municipality in the Dolenjska region was meanwhile hit by hail a week ago, causing the most damage in vineyards and on corn fields.


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