Research conducted at the University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center over several years to explore a variety of methods to potentially increase sap yields from tubing systems through modifications of the lateral/dropline portion of the sap collection system.
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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.
The “small” spout, 19/64″ or 5/16″ in diameter, has been widely available to maple producers since the mid to late 1990’s as a “healthy” alternative to the traditional 7/16″ spout. While now in general use by producers in some regions, particularly those collecting sap by vacuum, the utility of these smaller spouts is still questioned by many sugarmakers, particularly those collecting sap by gravity. This article will review several studies conducted at the University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center comparing 7/16″ spouts with small spouts (for the purposes of this article, 5/16″, and 19/64″ will be considered equally as “small” spouts).
In general, it is presumed that any effect of Òspout colorÓ on sap yield arises due to thermal warming of darker-colored spouts during sunny periods. Darker-colored spouts warm faster and the spout temperature can rise considerably above air temperature when hit by the sun compared to lighter-colored spouts. To assess the effect of Òspout colorÓ on sap yield, we conducted a multi-year study at the University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center in Underhill, Vermont. Twelve treatment plots were randomly assigned a different spout type, with one mainline and releaser for each plot.
Given our extensive research experience on RO processing and flavor, and the appearance of new RO technology that could concentrate to higher levels, a shift toward this new technology seemed appropriate. Therefore after investigating various options, we entered into a partnership with Lapierre Equipment to utilize the new HyperBrix RO system at UVM PMRC. This paper describes some aspects of our first two seasons of use of this equipment. Given the state of the industry, we define Òhigh brixÓ maple sap processing as RO machines capable of producing concentrate at 30¡Brix or higher.
A great deal has changed since the 1960s and 1970s in terms of maple production and recommended practices, especially given the introduction of the new polyethylene tubing formulations and new types of spouts. Consequently, we are occasionally asked whether lateral lines in gravity tubing installations should be vented. As a result of these questions, we compared sap yield from standard non vented (closed) 5/16″ lateral lines alongside a vented 5/16″ installation under gravity conditions.