SYRACUSE, N.Y.—Not time to panic yet but the latest shortage in maple supplies could be R/O pre-filters.
“They’ve been hard to get,” said Sandy Wilcox of Countryside Hardware in DeRuyter, N.Y. who was a featurted vendor at the New York maple conferences this weekend.
“Folks might want to get on to some,” she said.
Wilcox said at her store, one of the biggest suppliers in central New York, the 5 micron, 20-inch prefilters have been easier to find than the 10 micron.
“Those are in low supply or out,” she said.
At Maple Expert Solutions in Henniker, N.H. owner Clayton Christie was hesitant to say there was a shortage just yet.
“I know we are selling them fast and likely won’t have any left soon,” he told The Maple News on Tuesday.
At Wendel’s Maple & More in East Concord, N.Y. owner Nick Wendel said one of his favorite pre-filter brands were unavailable this year.
“I luckily bought a couple extra pallets last year and have them left over,” he said.
At Roth Sugar Bush in Cadott, Wisc. owner Peter Roth appeared confident he will be able to get through the season with his pre-filter supply.
“We have plenty at this time,” Roth said.
Sam Bascom at Bascom Maple Farm in Alstead, N.H. also reported are good supply of pre-filters.
Still, sugarmakers are being advised they should expect shortages and delays from here on out in both equipment and supplies, as the economy is upended by Covid.
“ASAP business is going to be very difficult,” said Jeff Smith, president of Leader Evaporator Co.
Smith said the whipsaw effect of the current Omicron surge in Covid will disrupt manufacturing and inputs even worse than before.
“I would tell sugarmakers to buy early because prices are going to go up and availability is going to get worse,” he said.
Anyone looking to buy equipment for the 2023 season should get their orders in.
“The tail on the supply chain issues is gonna continue to get longer,” Smith said. “Best thing for a producer is to make a commitment and buy early.”
Meanwhile the Diatomaceous earth shortage seems to be easing, with dealers and suppliers saying they are restocking the critical filter aid in time for the season following a rush on the item this fall.
“I have lots of filter aid in stock now,” Wendel said.