Dry and warm Žatec was an ideal area for hops, climate change, however, also makes it difficult to grow hops. Critical are the long lasting tropical temperatures and the more frequent droughts, amplified by negative interventions in the landscape. Therefore, breeding of new, more resistant varieties, along with experiments with bio-hoppers, is taking place.
Žatec and Louny, which are the main areas of hop growing in the Czech Republic, are among the dirties and warmest areas in the Czech Republic, comparable to South Moravia or near Litoměřice. Like the above mentioned regions, Žatec is significantly threatened by various aspects of the ongoing climate change.
Their main impact is a gradual increase in the average annual temperature, changes in the spatio-temporal distribution of precipitation (the trend is more frequent heavy rainstorms and/or storms and less frequent periods of less intense but lasting rain), frequent tropical days during the growing season and also long stretches of dry weather, extending into the upper layers of soil in the Ohře meadows. Moreover, the effect of climate change is greatly enhanced by historical interventions in the landscape – the amelioration of small watercourses and the overall systematic disturbance of the water regime, which was intended to drain water quickly from the landscape.
The hops are very sensitive to climatic changes in densely planted hop gardens, and current research suggests significant future problems not only in the cultivation of traditional, highly valued varieties (Saaz varieties), but in the most exposed parts of the country, global warming threatens the hops growing overall.
The next decade’s hop-growing model, which takes into account the mildest variations in global climate development, predicts a reduction in hop yield of up to 10%, along with an almost one-third drop in the content of substances directly affecting the quality of hops (a-acids). The disadvantage of growing hops in Žatec is the considerable geographical homogeneity and sharp boundaries of the area (Ore and Doupov mountains, Sladkov forest) and thus the considerable difficulty of moving hops cultures to, for example, higher altitudes.
Thus, the solution suitable for Žatec is probably new varieties of hops, which are better able to cope with the climatic trend, along with the renewal of the landscape’s water regime and the overall increase in landscape resistance to climate change. Their breeding is currently devoted to the Hop Institute.
|Hop Research Institute Co., LTD|
438 01 Zatec
|+420 415 732 111|
|Stekník, 438 01 Žatec|
Beer tasting during the beer festival at the Hop Research Institute in Žatec.
-traditional event for invited experts and laics at the Hop Research Institute
-accompanying program at the beer festival