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Relating Spectrophotometer Readings to Visual Grading of Maple Syrup

Color grading of maple syrup is based on placing syrup samples within four or more categories based either on visual comparison to color references or measurement of light transmission with a spectrophotometer. With a spectrophotometer, specific transmission values are used as break points to divide syrup samples into color grades. The purpose of this report is to describe the lack of agreement between existing light transmission break points and visual grading and how this problem can be addressed.

A History of Taps and Tree Size

The current ‘traditional’ tap hole number guidelines involve adding a tap for each 5 inch dbh above 10 inches dbh. ‘Conservative’ guidelines involve placing one tap in trees 12 inch dbh and a second tap in trees more than 18 inches dbh. The reasons behind the traditional guidelines are not stated in the North American Maple Syrup Producers Manual, but the conservative guidelines are suggested when there is concern for tree health. The purpose of this article is discover where these guidelines came from and to re-establish the reasons why they exist.