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Thread: 2018 Nebraska Tapping Journal

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    Osmond, Nebraska
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    Default 2018 Nebraska Tapping Journal

    I'm going out on a limb here and starting a journal on tapping in Nebraska. I don't think our state tree, the cottonwood can be tapped so I'll cut to the chase. My wife & I live on an acreage in the northeast corner of the state and we are surrounded by corn and soybean fields as far as the eye can see. On our 6 1/2 acre slice of real estate we have windbreaks to the north and west containing 2 acres of 85 year old silver maple trees that I didn't know could be tapped for maple syrup until a couple of years ago. In the spring of 2015 we put in a couple dozen taps just to see if what I'd researched on maple syrup could actually be done here. It can! We ended up with maybe a gallon and a half of syrup that first year and I was hooked. Nectar of the gods. In 2016 we added a few more taps, got more syrup and last year (2017) put in 185 taps just to see what the trees could do and were overwhelmed. My flat pan on propane wok burners couldn't keep up and we ended up dumping most of the sap.

    The weather here in Nebraska is very sporadic and our tapping season is shorter than what most of you experience. Last year during the final week in February and the first week in March the temps were in the 70's and budding started so that ended the season. I made a note last year to put out taps earlier this year so here goes. The forecast highs for the next 3 days are in the 40's & 50's with lows in the twenties so today I put in 50 taps on bags. This evening I checked and 29 of the bags had sap, maybe collectively only 2 gallons but it's a start. I checked sugar and the range was from 1 1/2% to a little over 3% with most in the 2 1/2% range so I'm happy with that. I'll need much more though before I can start boiling so I'll keep you informed how things are going. If anyone else out here is tapping in the Cornhusker State please join in!


    Jim

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Winfield, Iowa
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    378

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    Hi Jim, it's a great activity, isn't it? I don't recall seeing many, if any, other Nebraskins here so if you get lonely you can join us Iowans on a thread titled "sugaring in Iowa" or something very close to that. It too is under the the "journals" heading. Welcome aboard and I'll be looking forward to your posts! Ted

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Osmond, Nebraska
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    Saturday, January 20, 2018 High temp yesterday was 60 degrees but not much flow on the 50 bags. I collected what was there, 2 1/2 gallons and pulled the bags. The forecast for tomorrow is 8-10" of snow plus some ice thrown in for good measure and 40-50 MPH winds. They're calling it near-blizzard conditions, I call it a full fledged blizzard. I'll just have to wait it out. Typical Nebraska weather.

  4. #4
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    Dec 2017
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    Osmond, Nebraska
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    Sunday January 21, 2018. Happy tapping to everyone back east! Northeast Nebraska is under a blizzard warning now, starting later this afternoon and continuing through Monday evening. Fifteen inches of snow forecast now along with gusts over 40 MPH. We haven't had one like this for about 5 years so I guess we're due. Time to put the tracks on the Grizzly! I pulled my bags yesterday but the forcast after this passes is above freezing temps so that's encouraging. The refrigerator and bar are stocked, so all we can do is wait it out.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Very interesting to hear about sugaring in Nebraska. Would it be possible to run a one inch mainline down your windrows and go to a three tap per lateral line? This way your not removing your bags at times. Your tap holes would not dry up as fast. Add a little Guzzler to this and you might see production double. You may have to go out and buy a 2x4 rig before long. Good luck to you and have fun.

    Spud

  6. #6
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    Dec 2017
    Location
    Osmond, Nebraska
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    Some lines might be in the future and I've been doing some research on it, and it seems that many if not most of you producers have lines. I do have some basic dumb questions though. Do you leave the lines up all year 'round? My trees are 85 years old and are constantly dropping branches and wondering if it's a major issue for you guys? Cost would be a consideration too. I know there would be a lot of variables but what would be the average cost per tree on an annual basis for tubing and related hardware, pumps, storage etc?

    Jim

  7. #7
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    It would be about $6.50 per tap for pipe and fittings. The pipe stays up all year. Tree branches can fall all they want and it will not hurt the pipe in most cases. I saw a Guzzler on CL for $400 the other day. For storage you can buy a cage tank for $100-150. You would replace your spouts every year for .20 each.

    Spud

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Osmond, Nebraska
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    Spud, thanks for the reply, it clears up some questions I had. There may be some areas I could put in lines to tie 10-15 trees to one collection point, that would save me some time. I don't have much slope to work with so that might be an issue. I'll figger something out!

    It sounds like many of you are busy now with the better weather. I checked long range here and the next three days it will be in the 40's but then the 10 days after that highs only in the upper 20's so that's not promising. I'm going to wait until after that, it's still early here using the past three years as my guide. I think it will take me that long to get dug out anyway. We had 14" of snow the past two days with winds clocked at 71 MPH so that makes drifts around 8-10' high. Our place is surrounded by soybean fields which hold back exactly zero snow so it ends up in sheltered areas. I'm envious of pictures where the snow piles up so neatly on the fence posts. That never happens here. Sigh.

    Jim

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Osmond, Nebraska
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    I decided to put bags back up on 45 taps as the forecast highs will be in the low 40's for the next couple of days. We'll see what happens. After the blizzard some of the trees with taps are surrounded with 4-5' of packed snow and there are other drifts around the place 8-10' high. It makes for interesting travel to get to some of the trees but the tracks on the Grizzly work perfectly under these conditions.

    Conditions back east must be good as some of you are getting good flows but it will be a few weeks yet before that happens here.

    Jim

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Osmond, Nebraska
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    January 29, 2018. So far this year collected only 4 gallons of sap from 50 taps so obviously not much is flowing. We've only had 5 days total of above 40 degrees this year and the 10 day forecast is highs only in the mid twenties. The weather must be warming up back east, I enjoy reading about a few of you going gangbusters right now. We've boiled down what little sap we had for a few ounces of syrup and its just as good as it was last year! Can't wait for Mother Nature to start cooperating! Happy tapping!

    Jim

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