LONGUEUIL, Que.—Quebec’s 2016 maple syrup production was 148.2 million pounds, an unprecedented 23% jump from the previous record of 120 million pounds set in 2013, the Federation of Quebec Maple Producers reported.
With 42.7 million taps in operation, the province’s 7,300 maple syrup producers achieved a historic productivity level of 3.47 pounds per tap—a massive improvement over the previous best of 2.82 pounds per tap in 2013.
“We’ve never seen a harvest of this magnitude!” said Serge Beaulieu, president of the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. “Our trees yielded huge amounts of maple water. At times the flow was so strong it was hard to keep up with the boiling. This year’s harvest is a great windfall for our producers, to the tune of $400 million. We have to keep in mind that in the maple syrup industry our income is wholly dependent on harvest volumes. And it all plays out in just a few days of the year.”
A very long season
This year’s spring weather was ideal for maple syrup production, with frequent periods of freezing and thaws. In more southern regions like the Montérégie, the first serious sap runs began in the third week of February. The last runs of the season came in early May in the Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie regions. This means the 2016 maple syrup season was eight weeks long. The combination of early warm weather and persistent cool periods is the main factor behind the phenomenal harvest. The highest yields of all were in the Centre-du-Québec region: 3.82 pounds per tap.
Record harvest, top quality syrup
The 2016 harvest greatly exceeded both the 2013 production record of 120.3 million pounds and the average annual production of the past five years, 107 million pounds. With over 300,000 barrels to grade and inspect, Quebec’s quality inspectors are in for a busy year. They got off to an earlier start in April, and have already inspected and graded 10 million more pounds of maple syrup than at the same time of year in 2015.
80% of Quebec maple syrup bound for foreign markets
Maple syrup buyers are continually developing new international markets, as seen in increasing orders for Quebec maple syrup. The Federation’s agency’s sales have been rising constantly over the last five years. Over 80% of Quebec maple syrup is exported, to over 53 countries. There’s no question that Quebec’s thriving, innovative and forward-looking maple syrup industry makes a landmark contribution to the economy of Quebec and Canada as a whole.