Minnesota's craft beer boom has spawned a fledgling hops industry
"Angela Orshinsky, assistant professor of plant pathology at the University of Minnesota, said hop plants have natural enemies such as aphids and mites. But the biggest challenge to growing hops in the Midwest is disease: powdery mildew and especially downy mildew, which can destroy crops.
Growers need to spray hops with fungicides every seven to 14 days to manage the mildew, Orshinsky said, so she is working on developing new hop varieties that would be more resistant to the mildew. The disease is less of a problem in the more arid hop farms in Washington, Idaho and Oregon, she said.
Breeding varieties more suitable to Minnesota’s climate is a long-term effort, Orshinsky said, so she also is pursuing a separate track. “We’re also researching ways of managing fungicides that have less environmental effects and also have less impact on the pocketbook,” she said." - Star Tribune