THE roads of Bushy Park are once again a hive of activity, with tractors, carts and harvesters buzzing about the country roads, signalling the start of the hop-picking season.
Hops first came to the Derwent Valley 200 years ago, and through the years of innovation and growth, it has become one of the most iconic exports of the region.
Today, it is estimated that more than 1.5 million strands of biodegradable rope hang throughout Hop Products Australia’s Bushy Park vineyards, the hop vines growing up the strands over the course of a few months.
Farm Manager Tom Parry said the weather of the past few months has been, if anything, stable for the hop crops.
“We didn’t have anything spectacular. It wasn’t a hot summer, but definitely not a mild one either, so we were pretty lucky to avoid anything bad,” Mr Parry said.
While the vines look plump with hops, Mr Parry said the season is hard to predict “when the season has had such inconsistent weather and temperature”.
Around 150 seasonal workers are spread across the 255ha of hop vines, with the majority of workers being locals returning year on year.
Bushy Park is a big contributor to the Australian beer industry, producing more than 600 tonnes of hops per season to brewers around the nation, and Mr Parry can certainly see the longevity in the demand.
“It’s a good industry to be in, you can see other industries being hurt by sanctions, or lowered demand, but it doesn’t look like anyone in Australia is going to get sick of drinking beer any time soon.”