This research proposal seeks to address the requirements of vegetatively propagating hops from above ground stem-cuttings. This would include determining the proper concentration of rooting hormones, how different varieties compare in rooting potential, what type of soil or soilless media will promote greatest root development and how to effectively maintain "stock" plants from which cuttings can be continually harvested from. The project will also include experimenting with the use of plant growth regulators that will control growth in a greenhouse environment. The results of this research could potentially include decreased inputs of capital for the Midwest grower, leading to increased gains. Also, rapid development of acreage for growers to meet the demands of the booming industry in Minnesota. Since plants can be grown at any time during the year in a greenhouse, having field-ready transplants to plant at any time during the outside growing season would be beneficial to growers. This could replace or be used in combination with harvesting rhizomes from plants as well. It could also mean if a grower needed to change varieties the following season, they might simply place a small order on that variety and propagate their own plants without incurring a great deal of cost.
At the October 15th board meeting, the MHGA board passed a motion to provide support to a University of Minnesota project, led by undergraduate student researcher Joshua Havill and overseen by Dr. John Erwin and Dr. Charlie Rowher, studying several aspects of above ground hop plant propagation. In a nutshell, Joshua's work aims to reduce the cost of starting new plants, by researching various techniques that would allow Midwest growers to effectively establish new plants from existing plants without requiring the purchase of new plants or rhizomes. The board agreed to purchase plant stock that Joshua would use to conduct his research. Joshua has agreed to include a team of MHGA members that will help provide direct grower input into his research. At the conclusion of the project, the results will be shared with MHGA members, and all MHGA-purchased plant stock will be returned to the organization.