Hop dry matter yield and cone quality responses to amino acid and potassium-rich foliar spray applications uri icon


  • The use of amino acid and K-rich foliar sprays was evaluated in a commercial hop field in North-eastern Portugal. Four applications of an amino acid-rich foliar spray were performed in place of a second side dress N application of “70 kg N ha−1, which is usually applied by the farmer. The K-rich foliar spray was applied once at the cone developing stage as a supplement to the farmer’s fertilization plan. The amino acid-enriched foliar spray maintained crop dry matter yield at the levels of the control treatment and increased cone alpha-acids concentration (41.8% in 2018 and 9.3% in 2019). Foliar K did not increase cone dry matter yield, cone size or bitter acid concentration. Tissue K concentration was not significantly affected by foliar treatments whereas the application of K seemed to increase N uptake, with leaves and stems being the predominant allocation tissues. Both foliar treatments increased leaf and stem Mg concentrations. The results seem to emphasize the importance of amino acids in the biosynthesis of bitter acids, while K and Zn seemed to play an important secondary role, maybe related to N metabolism and its reduction into amino acids. The concentrations of total phenols in cones and leaves were lower in the foliar treatments in comparison to the control, and the higher values registered in leaves. In this study, the use of amino acids as a foliar spray provided an interesting result, since they maintained cone dry matter yield and increased cone bitter acid concentration with reduced N use.

publication date

  • January 2021