Well, I ran the numbers this evening, and it turns out that I have around $372.00 invested in 12 hills. The costs add up quickly.
I live on property that has no natural supports and no fence. Even a simple pole and string trellis per hill pair like I use runs about $10.00 per hill.
I plant only virus/viroid-free plant stock because it is difficult to go back to planting rootstock after planting virus/viroid-free plant stock (my first two hop yards were planted from rhizomes). A whole crown runs around $10.00 to 11.00 per hill and around $7.00 for a field-grade plant per hill. Now, we are up to twenty dollars per hill.
If one owns dogs, one needs to build a barrier to prevent one's dog from getting to one's hops. I built the simplest U-post and wire fence that I could build, and it set me back $70.00, which brings my cost up to $25.83 per hill.
Unless one is blessed with abundant regular rainfall throughout the season, one needs to provide supplemental irrigation. If one does not have to worry about one's water source, then a cheap soaker hose will do the job. For those of us who are on low gallon per minute deep fractured rock wells, a soaker hose is far too inefficient; hence, there goes another $60.00 in a minimalist drip irrigation system, which brings my cost up to $30.83 per hill.
Hops need to be fertilized. Here's where I am luckier than most home hop growers because my neighbor has sheep; therefore, I have access to a ready supply of composted sheep manure.
I use less than 40 ounces of hops in a year. I pay roughly $1.00 per ounce with shipping; hence, if I have no recurring costs other than twine, it will take nine years to to break even. Like Jeff, my home grown hops are the most expensive hops that I use by a large margin.