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Cost of Maple Sap Production for Various Size Tubing Operations

Reports sap production costs for small (500 to 1,000 taps), medium (1,000 to 5,000), and large (5,000 to 15,000) maple syrup operations that use plastic tubing with vacuum pumping. The average annual operating cost per tap ranged from $4.64 for a 500-tap sugarbush operation to $1.84 for a sugarbush with 10,000 taps. The weighted average was $2.87 per tap or $11.48 per gallon (assumes four taps required to produce a gallon of syrup). The average annual investment cost for a plastic tubing system ranged from $7.90 for a 500-tap operation to $6.03 for a 10,000-tap system. The average labor time per tap was 4.74 minutes in 1998 compared to 9.60 minutes in 1975. The break-even (zero profit) size for a sugarbush operation was 900, 1,500, and 3,800 taps for a 3.0, 2.5, and 2.0o Brix sap, respectively.