How may climate change impact the maple syrup industry? Our team of interdisciplinary researchers, ACERnet (Acer Climate and Socio-Ecological Research Network), has been working to understand the complex answers to this question for the past several years. In particular, we are interested in examining how climate impacts the timing of the maple tapping season as well as both the quality and quantity of sap collected during the tapping season.
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Technological advances by maple equipment manufacturers, continued outreach and education by local, state, federal, and provincial maple organizations, and widespread adoption of new management practices by producers have revolutionized the maple industry over the last 20 years. The design and layout of sap collection systems and advances in vacuum pumps and releasers has resulted in higher per tap sap yields well beyond the old standards. Increased per tap volume has been matched with modern high brix reverse osmosis systems and efficiency gains in evaporators, pushing the economic potential of making maple syrup to new heights. Value-added products, niche marketing and branding, and social media and online platforms, coupled with health conscious and savvy consumers,have altered the retail sales landscape and linked rural maple producers to consumers around the world.
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.
During the 2019 maple season the Cornell Maple Program conducted replicated trials on 5/16Ó and 3/16Ó tubing looking at a variety of tubing options for taphole sanitation and tapping. This report will focus on the 5/16Ó results.
A new foreign invader could have a substantially negative impact on the eastern North American hardwoods in general, and sugarbushes in particular. The Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula, SLF) was first detected near Philadelphia, PA in 2014 and since has spread throughout much of the Commonwealth and has been sighted in about a half dozen New York counties and in several sites in southern New England.
ItÕs been 10 years since the ALB was first reported in Worcester, Massachusetts, and since then 24,179 ALB-infested trees have been found and removed, including the four trees mentioned. This has dramatically changed the character of the heaviest hit Worcester neighborhoods, Greendale and Burncoat, and resulted in a massive reforestation effort. Those neighborhoods were the center of the infestation and nearly every single host tree, including street trees, were removed in the effort to eradicate this pest. The DCR ALB Reforestation program, Worcester Tree Initiative, the city of Worcester, and the other five municipalities in the regulated area have replanted thousands of trees. Today, those young trees have become established and have started to provide much needed shade and wind breaks.
Documents experiments conducted by Cornell researchers involving re-tapping mid-season.
In 2005 testing was started at the Cornell Food Venture Center to see if common diabetic meters could be used to measure invert sugar levels in maple syrup for making a variety of maple value added products where crystalizing the syrup is critical.
Agritourism plays two important roles. First, it educates the public about farming and their local food system. Second, it supports farmers by increasing sales opportunities and building a loyal customer base. The term encompasses an array of on-farm attractions, events, or services. Events can take a simple Ð and limited Ð form such participating in a stateÕs maple weekend. Or it can be as complex as opening a restaurant. Agritourism includes anything from school field trips, to B&Bs, to pick-your-own, and wine tastings. Sometimes fun, sometimes educational, sometimes both, the common threads are connection and experience.
The leaves on the trees are still mostly green and few have fallen. Does this indicate anything for the upcoming sugar season?