Increasing the yield of sap from maple trees is the goal of most maple producers. While getting there isnÕt a matter of one simple thing, by following best management practices and paying attention to detail it is possible to increase sap yields, often quite dramatically.
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The combination of potential crop losses from foam-related incidents, reductions in crop value due to off-flavors, and ultimately the many adverse effects of such a large proportion of organic syrup with off-flavors potentially being sold to consumers, underscore the need to identify or develop a certified organic defoamer for maple production that is both more effective at controlling foam than the culinary oils that are currently used, and which results in no off-flavors when used in the quantities necessary to adequately control foam. Thus, the overall objective of this project was to identify a certified organic defoamer that met these criteria.
It is well recognized that microbial contamination of tubing systems can result in a substantial loss in sap yield if untreated. Over a decade of research and maple industry experience has produced a range of possible strategies to address sanitation-related issues in 5/16Ó tubing systems (Perkins et. al. 2019). Although rapidly adopted by many maple producers, due to the relatively short time period in which it has been in widespread use, there is far less understanding of sanitation in 3/16Ó tubing systems (Wilmot 2018). To address this knowledge deficit, we conducted a multi-year study at the UVM Proctor Maple Research Center to examine sanitation-related losses in 3/16Ó tubing systems to determine which approach(es) might best mitigate sap losses due to sanitation.
Although rapidly adopted by many maple producers, due to the relatively short time period in which it has been in widespread use, there is far less understanding of sanitation in 3/16Ó tubing systems. To address this knowledge deficit, we conducted a multi-year study at the UVM Proctor Maple Research Center to examine sanitation related losses in 3/16Ó tubing systems to determine which approach(es) might best mitigate sap losses due to sanitation.
More then a decade ago there was a renewed realization that microbial contamination of maple sap collection systems was having a significant detrimental impact on sap yields. Several research studies to investigate ways to improve sap yields from tubing systems were undertaken at both the University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center (Underhill, VT) and at the Cornell University Arnot Forest (Van Etten, NY) starting at about the same time and proceeded both as independent and joint projects from 2009-2018. The results of many of these studies have been reported in the past in numerous individual publications and presentations. This article seeks to combine and present this extensive body of work into a single, comprehensive, but concise summary of our results.
One of the more common questions producers have when about tapping maple trees is Òhow deep should spouts be driven in to the taphole?Ó. Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer, since different spouts have different dimensions, variable degrees of taper and steps, and are made of different materials with dissimilar degrees of Òstickiness.Ó Regardless, the importance of driving spouts in to the proper depth is readily apparent: if spouts are driven too shallow there is a risk that spouts can leak vacuum or heave easily during freezes, but if driven too deeply, small cracks may form which cause liquid and vacuum leaks or alternatively, the reduced amount of exposed wood surface area inside the taphole caused by driving spouts in too deeply may reduce sap collection.
In order to determine the optimal approach to sap collection in their operation, maple producers need to be informed about how the choices they make will affect sap yield. One of the decisions they face is what spout size (diameter) to use.
Reverse osmosis is used widely in the maple syrup industry to concentrate maple sap and increase the overall efficiency and profitability of syrup pro-duction. Sets of samples from maple producers utilizing a range of sap con-centration levels were collected and analyzed to provide a portrait of the phy-sicochemical properties and chemical composition of maple sap, concentrate, and permeate across a single production season. The results reinforce that re-verse osmosis functions essentially as a concentration process, without signifi-cantly altering the fundamental proportions of sap constituents.
The University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center and the Cornell Maple Program Arnot Forest conducted a multi-year study examining several common sanitation strategies and assessing the effects on sap yield, attendant costs, and resulting net profits. The following graphs briefly summarize the results of this work.
Leader Evaporator Co. Check-Valve (CV) spouts and adapters incorporate a small, free-floating ball which is designed to reduce or prevent backflow of sap into the taphole during freezing, when leaks in the tubing system occurs, and when mechanical releasers dump and introduce air into the system. Several studies over nearly a decade have compared sap yields from CV adapters and spouts to various non-CV spouts and adapters.