In 2014 and 2015 the focus of the tubing and taphole sanitation research changed dramatically. Tests conducted in 2013 showed that if the spout and drop line were adequately sanitized sap yield comparable to a new spout and drop could be obtained. With the assistance of a grant from the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension program of the USDA and in cooperation with the Proctor Maple Research Center in Vermont, a variety of spout and drop cleaning and replacement options were tested to determine the extent of sap yield changes.
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For Illinois farmers, the maple resource is poised to be tapped given that 1.8 of the total 4.3 million acres of Illinois woodlands exists on farms. Industry standards suggest that a properly managed maple tree resource producing an average sap sugar concentration of 2 percent and an average volume per tap per season of 10 gallons of sap is necessary for a commercial maple syrup venture to succeed.
Forty two upland sugar maple trees and 59 riparian silver maples were tapped in 2003 to characterize their sap sugar parameters within the southern Illinois region.
Sapstreak disease is a potentially serious problem of sugarbushes and forest stands. It is caused by the fungus Ceratocystis virescens, which invades sapwood of roots and bases of stems through wounds created during logging, saphauling, or other activities. This report describes the results of observations and experiments to learn more about the patterns of disease development and the factors that affect them, within individual trees and within representative forests and sugarbushes.
Many pests and other stresses affect maple trees growing in a sugarbush. Some pests can markedly reduce sap quantity; others, although conspicuous, are not important. Stresses can result from activities by people and from natural phenomena. Recognizing problems and understanding the factors that contribute to their occurrence, development, and significance are necessary to maintain tree health. This report brings together current information on the living agents and nonliving factors that can cause problems in sugarbushes. Insects, diseases, improper forest stand management, and unwise sugaring practices are illustrated. and ways to prevent or reduce their effects are described.
In March and April 1983, 289 and 196 young grafted sugar maple trees were tapped and evaluated for sap-sugar content. In April, sap was collected from taps both above and below the graft union. Diameter of all tapped trees at 18 inches above the ground was measured. Analysis of the data revealed that: (1) trees selected for high sugar yield cannot be reproduced by grafting on rootstock of unknown but varying sugar content without encountering large fluctuations in sap sweetness of the trees produced; (2) diameter is not correlated with sap sweetness of young grafted trees; (3) numerous sap-sugar readings over time may be necessary to identify the sap sugar characteristics of a candidate sweet tree; and (4) the cause of the variation in sap-sugar content of trees over time needs to be investigated more fully.
Our objectives were to develop time series of maple production costs and to observe the effects of changing technology, fuel price, interest rate, and sap sugar content on production cost. In addition, the relationships between major production cost items were examined.
A cost analysis of processing maple sap to syrup for three fuel types, oil-, wood-, and LP gas-fired evaporators, indicates that: (1) fuel, capital, and labor are the major cost components of processing sap to syrup; (2) woodfired evaporators show a slight cost advantage over oil- and LP gas-fired evaporators; however, as the cost of wood approaches $50 per cord, wood as a fuel would no longer have this cost advantage; (3) economies of scale exist in processing maple sap to syrup; (4) in 1977 the total cost of production, including both sap production costs and processing costs, for a medium-size (750) gallons of syrup) operation was $8.36 per gallon of syrup for oil-fired evaporators, $7.97 per gallon of syrup for wood-fired evaporators, and $8.37 per gallon for LP gas-fired evaporators.
The three grades of maple syrup and a commercial table syrup containing artificial flavor and 3 percent pure maple syrup were evaluated by 1,018 women in four cities. The results indicate that differences in preference for flavor are related to how close the respondents are to a maple syrup-production region. Differences in preference among grades of pure maple syrup were slight and in reverse order of the quality implied by the Federal grading standard. Outside of the region of maple syrup production, differences in preference between pure maple syrup and the commercial table syrup were marked, and favored the commercial syrup.
Maple syrup made from sap collected using improperly or carelessly installed plastic pipelines varied more in color from day to day, and was more often darker in color, than sap collected from either the property installed pipeline or clean, frequently emptied galvanized buckets. Use of both properly installed tubing and buckets, following recommended procedures, produced light colored syrup of equal quality throughout the entire maple syrup season.