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Growth Rates of Sugar Maple Trees Tapped for Maple Syrup Production Using High-Yield Sap Collection Practices

The amount of sap that can be extracted annually from trees for maple syrup production using current equipment and practices is more than double the typical yields achievable when current maple industry tapping guidelines were developed. The growth rates of trees tapped with these Òhigh-yieldÓ practices at 18 sites in Vermont were measured and evaluated to determine whether they were sufficient for the replenishment of conductive wood to remain at sustainable levels when current tapping guidelines are followed.

Identifying Sustainable Practices for Tapping and Sap Collection from Birch Trees: Optimum Timing of Tapping Initiation and the Volume of Nonconductive Wood Associated with Taphole Wounds

Experiments were conducted to determine two pieces of information essential to identify practices necessary to ensure tapping trees for birch sap collection is both sustainable and profitableÑthe selection of the time to initiate tapping birch trees to obtain maximum yields, and the volume of nonconductive wood (NCW) associated with taphole wounds in birch trees. The yields obtained from various timing treatments varied between sapflow seasons, but indicate that using test tapholes to choose the appropriate time to initiate tapping is likely to result in optimum yields from birch trees. The volume of NCW associated with taphole wounds in birch trees was highly variable and generally quite large, averaging 220 times the volume of the taphole drilled, and requiring relatively high radial growth rates to maintain NCW at sustainable levels over the long-term. However, more conservative tapping practices, including reduced taphole depth and increased dropline length, as well as thinning and other stand management practices, can be used to reduce the minimum growth rates required. Producers can use this information to ensure that they use tapping practices that will result in sustainable outcomes and obtain the maximum possible sap yields from their trees.

Is Tapping Below the Lateral Line A Good Idea?

This research was conducted to determine whether tapping below the lateral line in vacuum tubing operations results in the same quantity of sap from a taphole as normal (above the lateral line) tapping, and thus whether tapping below the lateral is a reasonable management alternative which might be employed to increase the size of the tapping band in maple sap production. It will also inform us as to any tradeoffs (reductions) in yield that might result from this approach.

Maple Industry Panel

Where is the maple industry headed? Where are bulk prices headed? Is the global market demand for syrup keeping pace with the expansion in production? This panel discussion includes Bruce Bascom (Bascom Maple Farms), John Kingson (Butternut Mountain Farm), David Hall (Quebec Federation of Maple Producers) and Mark Cannella (UVM Extension Farm Business Specialist). The session is moderated by Mark Isselhardt (UVM Extension Maple Specialist)