UNDERHILL CTR.—It is well recognized that spout and dropline sanitation heavily influence sap yields in maple tubing systems.
The drop, including both the tubing and spout collectively, accounts for almost 90% of the sanitation effectiveness in terms of sap production, while the lateral line and mainline have only a small influence on yield in terms of sanitation.
Of this, the spout is by far the most important component, although annual replacement of the spout alone is not enough to achieve maximum production on used droplines.
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BURLINGTON, Vt.—If the maple world ever creates its own version of Mount Rushmore, the tubing pioneers from the 1950s would make excellent candidates.
Nelson S. Griggs and George B. Breen of Vermont, and Robert M. Lamb of Central New York, led the way with development of plastic tubing for sap collection, which laid the foundation for today's highly-efficient, modern production systems.
Historian Matthew M. Thomas, PhD, discussed their work and the evolution of sap gathering in a fascinating online presentation, "From Pails to Pipelines: The Origins of Plastic Tubing in the Maple Syrup Industry."
Thomas created the website MapleSyrupHistory.com and has authored two books, "A Sugarbush Like None Other" and "Maple King: The Making of a Maple Syrup Empire."
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FRANKLIN, W.V.—The issue of tree access can be problematic for many maple producers.
Just like leasing pasture to support a growing herd of cows, many maple producers lease trees to support increased production.
This allows syrup producers to expand production beyond the forest resource they have available on their own lands.
Depending on the demand for trees to lease, a landowner can expect from $0.50 to $1.00 per tree.
A good sugarbush can have 70 taps per acre, realizing an annual income to the landowner of between $35 to $70/acre.
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JAFFREY, N.H.—Betting on his buckets.
A New Hampshire sugarmaker plans on rejuvenating tap holes later this season after taking what some would say is a risky move tapping trees at the beginning of February and hanging buckets.
“I’d rather go early,” said Bud Taylor, during a tour for The Maple News on Saturday.
Taylor hung his 52 buckets, mostly the plastic Lapierre brand, on February 1. [ MORE ]
LAKE PLACID, N.Y.—Tappers this season should try pattern tapping and marking old holes with paint.
That was the advice from Adam Wild of the Cornell Maple Program, who led a discussion on tapping during the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association last week.
Pattern tapping is recommended so sugarmakers avoid hitting old tapholes.
“The reason we use pattern tapping is it helps eliminate hitting non-conductive wood,” he said. [ MORE ]
HEBRON, Ct.—Straight, tight and downhill.
That was the simple advice to sugarmakers from retired Leader Evaporator legend Bruce Gillilan.
Gillilan led a tubing demonstration this fall in sugarmaker Ron Wenzel’s spectacular 412-tap bush in Hebron, Ct.
Gillilan said when determining what trees to tie into laterals, outstretch one’s arms up the hill and only connect trees that fall in between.
Other tips? Laterals should only connect between three and five taps per run, he said. Sometimes more if using 3/16ths.
Experts also say to use 36 inch droplines to reach more surface area of the tree, avoiding non-conductive wood. [ MORE ]
EAST CONCORD, N.Y.—Putting up new lines this fall? Don’t forget the dead end tees.
At maple shows this fall, sugarmakers were being reminded about the benefits of the common dead end tee, also known as the end line tee.
“We love them,” said Nick Wendel of Wendel’s Maple & More, a major Leader Evaporator dealer in western New York.
Dead end tees are identical to conventional tees, but are plugged off on one side. [ MORE ]
SWANTON, Vt.—New from Leader dealers this fall, long-asked-for pre-cut drops.
The packaged drops come in expert-recommended 36” long straight lengths without curl from rolled tubing.
Being straight, the drops allow for easy fitting install, Leader says.
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