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Sugarbush Management

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Buckthorn management in the sugarbush

Peter Smallidge, Cornell University | August 24, 2018

Glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus) and European buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) are common and can aggravate many ownership objectives. A variety of chemical and mechanical (i.e., organic) methods are available for the sugarmaker to control these species.

The buckthorns originated in Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. Their history of introduction into the US is poorly recorded, but many other examples of species that have become interfering were introduced in the middle 1800’s.

Glossy buckthorn was formerly known as Rhamnus frangula and is different but looks similar to the native alder-leaved buckthorn (Rhamnus alnifolia). Glossy buckthorn is a small shrub that is most common on moist soils, often near wetlands.

As with other interfering species, the interfering buckthorn species can dominate a site resulting in complicated access, reduced success with forest regeneration, and a reduction in plant species diversity. MORE ]

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Forest tent caterpillars back on the crawl in Vermont

Leon Thompson | June 20, 2018

BURLINGTON, Vt.—Just how many acres of maple trees will the forest tent caterpillar affect in Vermont this year — and possibly next?

State officials and maple industry experts in the Green Mountain State are using the remainder of this year to find an answer to that question.

By the end of July, the state will have sketched a map of Vermont that will help delineate specific areas of defoliation caused by the forest tent caterpillar this year.

Then, over this coming winter, The Vermont Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation will work with the Civil Air Patrol to conduct an arial egg mass survey of the entire state, to prepare for 2019.
MORE ]

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Wriggling little pests have something to chew on

Paul Post | Oct. 3, 2017

David Smart is used to seeing the sun shine down through treetops when sap starts flowing in his northern New York sugarbush. In July, there’s normally have heavy green canopy overhead.

But not this year as an unprecedented infestation of forest tent caterpillars has stripped trees of their leaves, creating a scene that looks more like early spring instead of mid-summer. Hundreds of acres throughout the North Country have been affected by the wriggling little pests. MORE ]

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Going solar: Powering the sugarhouse with the sun

Deborah Jeanne Sergeant | July 2017

According to the Governor’s office, solar use in New York grew 300 percent from 2011 to 2014. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision program plans to spend $1 billion on solar, which can help ag operators better afford to install solar panels.

Additional solar growth in New York State could come from another element in the REV program, a proposed $5 billion Clean Energy Fund, which would put investments into play over the next ten years across four portfolios: Market Development, Innovation and Research, NY Green Bank and NY-Sun.

Though this statistic includes numerous agricultural operations, many of those are dairies. Few of them are maple sugar producers. MORE ]

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Opinion: How is sugaring like dairy farming?

David Folino | May 2017

I live and sugar in Addison County Vermont. In my area there are plenty of dairy farmers and plenty of sugar makers. I have quite a few friends who are dairy farmers and I am familiar with the business. I’ve watched the price of milk fluctuate dramatically over the past four decades, and during that time, I’ve watched dairy farmers use a strategy which seemed counterproductive and doomed to failure. MORE ]

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Expert provides tips on sugarbush appraisal

Paul Post | March 2017

BRATTLEBORO, VT. — Understanding the ins and outs of property appraisals can maple producers make well-informed, wise decisions before purchasing sugarbush.

Whether the site has an existing operation or its virgin woodland, Bob Guay of Yankee Farm Credit, explained the many things involved with an appraisal and the help that’s available, during the Jan. 21. Winter Maple Conference in Brattleboro, Vt. MORE ]

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Company can map your sugarbush with a drone

Peter Gregg | Nov. 2016

The future keeps catching up to the maple industry.

One of Quebec’s leading technology innovators is offering drone services to sugarmakers, helping producers map out their sugarbush with real arial photos and 3D graphic images of sugarhouses. MORE ]