MORRISVILLE, Vt.—Bulk syrup prices ticked upwards this week as the crop in the United States will likely come in less than last year, but near average overall, according to sugarmakers and bulk buyers.
“As far as this year’s pricing, the crop really matters,” said David Marvin of Butternut Mountain Farms in Morrisville, Vt. one of the nation’s biggest bulk buyers. “I don’t think it will be a good crop in northern areas and that will have an impact.”
Marvin set his prices last week at $2.10 per pound for the top three table grades and offered incentives for organic and volume deliveries.
Most sugarmakers in the U.S. have shut down for the season as of this week. One of the last holdouts was Glenn Goodrich in Eden, Vt. who was boiling off of 36,211 taps in his newly constructed sugarhouse. His final boil was on Monday, May 1, closing out a very cold season in the northern U.S. that stretched production well into the spring.
“This is the first time I’ve ever boiled in May,” Goodrich said.
The official U.S. crop report will be released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service on June 12 and published in the Official U.S. Maple Syrup Almanac shortly thereafter.
Meanwhile, Bruce Bascom of Bascom Maple Farms in Alstead, N.H. also raised his price a dime on Monday, going up to $2.10 for Golden Delicate but staying at $2.00 for the other top table grades.
"I think the U.S. crop for the whole country is about average," Bascom said on Tuesday.
Bascom said he has had a lot of volume come in to his loading docks the past several weeks and that his supply for now was adequate.
“I already have enough syrup to get through October,” Bascom said. “We’ve bought a lot of syrup in the last three weeks.”
Meanwhile, Marvin of Butternut Mountain Farms said he will be taking 100 percent of the crop from his contracted buyers. This winter he said he would only be buying 90 percent of what his contracted sugarmakers made. He has lifted that restriction.
“We have a large and loyal supplier base and we want to buy all they have to sell us,” Marvin told The Maple News last month. “A lot of the people we deal with have had a good year.”
In Quebec, the crop could come in significantly down from last year, as much as 30 percent less. Eastern regions of the province were unusually cold throughout April, keeping trees frozen. And a fast warm up this week should end the season rapidly.
The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup producers has approximately 90 to 100 million pounds of syrup in its strategic reserve, with estimates of 60 million pounds of that in table grades. The Federation will likely tap into that reserve to satisfy the record high consumer demand for syrup.
In the Midwest, buyer Peter Roth also said he will wait to see how the crop comes in before setting a price.
“This fall will tell the true story on whether there is syrup out there or not,” Roth said. “We’ll see if packers are begging for syrup in October and November.”
Roth said he received hundreds of calls from sugarmakers looking to sell him excess syrup after he told The Maple News last month that there was a shortage in Wisconsin.
Roth said he will be buying syrup from his loyal Wisconsin suppliers first and then perhaps expand his buying program to other areas probably in mid-to-late-summer.
Roth stuck to his statement that syrup is in short supply in Wisconsin.
“We have multiple buyers in Wisconsin,” Roth said. “Everybody is after syrup.”