By Tom Collins
The maple syrup season began with a whimper but finished with a bang.
A long, cold winter with lots of snow shortened the maple syrup season by a couple of weeks. Ideal sap conditions are 5 C during the day and – 5 C at night but it was too cold for too long for the sap to start flowing as usual in February. But taps were gushing when the sap started to flow in March. That gushing will lead to at least an average yield for the 3,000 Ontario maple syrup producers, said OMAFRA agroforestry specialist Todd Leuty, with a very good chance of above-average yields by the time final calculations are completed later this year.
An average yield is 1.1 litres of syrup per tap, and Leuty has heard of some farmers reaching as high as 1.7 litres per tap. While it normally takes about 40 litres of sap to make one litre of syrup, a high sugar content in this year’s sap meant less sap was needed.
“A lot of people seem to be pretty happy with the crop,” he said, in spite of the frustrations. In some areas, kilometres of lines were buried in snow and needed to be dug out by hand so the sap wouldn’t freeze in the lines.