Got coverage? Register now to improve spray coverage in hops for more effective pest control

Registration deadlines for next week’s hops sprayer workshops are rapidly approaching.  Note that these workshops could be cancelled if minimum registration numbers are not reached by the deadlines. See the bottom of this article for details on the workshops and how to register.

Why should hop growers care about spray coverage?

Read through any hop pesticide label and you will likely find multiple statements about thorough coverage being required for effective pest control, however achieving good coverage can be very challenging when you are dealing with a crop that grows from rhizomes to 18 feet tall in just a few months. When disease risk is high, growers often feel rushed to apply pest control products in a timely fashion. However it is important to remember that, in the case of coverage, the adage “something is better than nothing” does not always apply to many of the more significant hop pests.

For example, with both downy and powdery mildew, pest control products registered on hops in Ontario are essentially preventative. This means that they work by preventing fungal spores from invading healthy tissue, rather than curing infections that are already there. If poor coverage means that only part of the crop is protected, then disease spores can still invade unprotected tissue, potentially resulting in systemic infections which you could be dealing with for many growing seasons.

While insecticides are often directly effective against insect pests, they generally must come into contact with the insect to be effective.  For pests like spider mites, aphids and leafhoppers, this means ensuring pest control products are distributed on the underside of leaves and/or into the denser lower canopy, where they tend to congregate.  While poor coverage with insecticides could still lead to some pest control, many pests may survive, leading to additional applications and associated costs and increasing the risk of pesticide resistance.

Considerations for improving coverage include selection of an appropriate sprayer, ensuring it is properly calibrated, use of appropriate water volumes, and adjusting the sprayer to match the height of the plants.  To help hop growers learn more about improving spray coverage, OMAFRA specialists are offering the following two sprayer optimization workshops on June 25 (eastern Ontario) and June 27 (western Ontario).  Details and registration information are below.

1) Hop Sprayer Optimization Workshop (East)

Date: Tuesday June 25, 9:00 am-Noon (Rain date June 26 9:00 am – Noon)

Location: The Bickle Farm – Valley Hops, 3054 McClelland Rd., Port Hope ON

This in-field workshop is intended for those planning on spraying hops. OMAFRA’s Application Technology specialist Jason Deveau will join Melanie Filotas and Evan Elford to talk about the importance of proper spray coverage in hops and discuss what “good” spray coverage looks like in hops. Learn how to calibrate your sprayer and adjust settings to match the height of the plants. A minimum of 10 registrants are required for this workshop to run.  Register by Friday June 21 at noon by contacting the AICC at 1-877-424-1300 or 

 2) OMAFRA-University of Guelph Hop Sprayer Optimization Workshop (West) and Research Demonstration

Date: Thursday June 27, 9:00 am-1:30 pm (lunch provided). Rain date June 28 9:00 am – 1:30 pm

Location: OMAFRA-Simcoe Research Centre (meet at Auditorium), 1283 Blueline Rd., Simcoe, ON

Join University of Guelph researchers and OMAFRA specialists for a collaborative workshop. In this workshop, OMAFRA Application Technology specialist Jason Deveau will cover the same spray optimization topics as in the eastern workshop. Additionally, attendees will have the opportunity to tour the University of Guelph Research Hopyard and learn the results of downy mildew research conducted over the last three years.  Lunch will be provided at this workshop.  A minimum of 10 registrants are required for this workshop to run.  Register by Monday June 24 at noon by contacting the AICC at 1-877-424-1300 or


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