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Thread: Very Quiet in the Mountain State

  1. #1
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    Default Very Quiet in the Mountain State

    This is the time of the year that WV producers start to ramp up, Season usually start in two months and a half. On the surface it appears that nothing is going on but behind the scenes the possibility of a 1200 tap Walnut Syrup operation maybe a go!, Walnut trees under high vacuum should be interesting? I will wait to see the result before I tap my Walnut trees, I probably could have that many taps between my two farms.
    Word is nothing else is brewing, a potential 5000 tap start up on a property with 25000 taps or more just could not get off the ground, operation was planned as a sap selling venture only. Maybe next year?
    As for myself I am in rebuild and repair, lot of 3/16 tubing going in on my steep slope areas, for you anti 3/16 tubing folks here is why, neighboring camp has 2100 taps and brought in over 50000 gallons of sap last season! Has he has said if it clogs in three years he we tear it out an put up new!!

    Mark 220 Maple
    1100 taps on low vaccum, 900 on gravity.
    900 plus taps leased and on high vacuum
    35 cfm Indiana Liquid Ring Vacuum Pump
    80% Sugar, 20% Red MAPLES
    http://s247.photobucket.com/albums/g...Maple%20Syrup/

  2. #2
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    We've had a little snow in Canaan that's been on the ground for a week now. Been almost perfect sap running weather, mid thirties in the day, 20's at night! I've poked around the woods a little and was happy to see most of last years holes completely healed over besides the bark layer!

    Hopefully one day WV can match production of VT, since we have way more sugar maples and way more hills!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by canaanmaple View Post
    Hopefully one day WV can match production of VT, since we have way more sugar maples and way more hills!
    We welcome the challenge.

    A 25,000 tap operation would be medium-sized producer here. We were at 1,200 taps in 2004. At 5,150 taps this year (2019). Headed to 6,500 taps 2 yrs from now (hopefully all of that flowing or pumped directly to the sugarhouse). That'll still make us a "small" operation in this neck of the woods, but we've got other things to do with all the research projects going on.

    Have a great season!
    Last edited by DrTimPerkins; 11-19-2019 at 04:07 PM.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  4. #4
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    Tim, is there a difference in expected yields between the two states?
    2016- 50 buckets. Made 4 gallons
    2017- 100 buckets, 50 taps on 3/4 mainline and 3/16th tubing + shurflo vacuum. Made 30 gallons.
    2018- 1000 taps on 3/16 + vacuum, 60 buckets - made 378 gallons of syrup.
    2019- 1713 taps on 3/16 + vacuum, NO buckets. Made 500 gallons.
    2020- 2793 taps made 1118 gallons.

  5. #5
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    Not to suggest I have any idea on yields vs WV an Vermont, I know for a fact all the Research into that subject in going on in Vermont at Proctor, and some data gathering at Cornell University in New York state, the good news is thanks to the Acer Grant award to WV, a southern Maple research center is planned for WVU, Morgantown West Virginia, Dr. Jamie Schuler will be heading up the center and hopefully questions about expected yields will be one of many items studied, I feel very confident that Proctor is interested in yield studies from a area where the climate is different than Vermont, what I'm trying to say with out starting a climate change debate, good data from a warmer climate may be helpful to producers in Vermont in twenty or more years?
    Mark 220 Maple
    1100 taps on low vaccum, 900 on gravity.
    900 plus taps leased and on high vacuum
    35 cfm Indiana Liquid Ring Vacuum Pump
    80% Sugar, 20% Red MAPLES
    http://s247.photobucket.com/albums/g...Maple%20Syrup/

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ultimatetreehugger View Post
    Tim, is there a difference in expected yields between the two states?
    Perhaps some differences, due primarily (as Mark says) to weather/climate. Trees grow a little better in WV than in most places in VT, so that is good for them, however VT probably has a longer window of good weather during the sugaring season, and reduced potential for impacts from climate change (not to say there will be none...there has already been some effect). Other than that, trees are trees, and the sap flow mechanism is the same, vacuum is as good as you can get it, and the relationship between sanitation and yield is well understood. Which means that on a tree-by-tree basis, most places (including WV) have the potential to produce high yields if best management practices are used. OH is a great example of that. There are producers there doing everything right who can get great yield numbers.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 220 maple View Post
    good data from a warmer climate may be helpful to producers in Vermont in twenty or more years?
    Mark 220 Maple
    Based on what I have witnessed in the high elevation climate where I live in WV, which is similar to VT, I would throw out a guess that it could help extend the season. In the past 5 years we have not really even been making our yearly average of snowfall. (140") And last year, the temps were perfect for sap running for almost 4 solid months starting around new years and going into April! If that trend reaches up north also, it could bring on early tapping dates and extended seasons. (I actually have *extremely* detailed local daily temperature/precipitation data from the past 20 years to go back and reference trends since it's broken down into ridiculous amounts of charts, etc.

  8. #8
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    Climate change is real. For a long time now the "window" for maple production all across the northeast (where we have the best records) was shrinking as the production season started earlier and ended earlier and the season duration was getting reduced. Seasonal total yields were decreasing very slowly as a result.

    Research into how to boost sap yields and on timing of tapping showed that as long as we tapped early, used good vacuum, and practiced very good spout and drop sanitation, we could actually maintain good sap flows for 3-4 months. Yields are about double or more than they were 20 yrs ago and we have reversed the loss in season duration in a big way.

    What people generally don't think about is that there are actually both fall (Oct-Nov) and spring (Feb-Apr) sap flow seasons, with a period mostly without good flows (winter) in the middle. Most producers don't tap in the fall for a variety of reasons (getting colder, lower sap sugar content). With climate change however, those two distinctly separate sap flow seasons are getting closer and closer together. Depending on how much climate warms and how fast, these will likely merge at some point....or at least be close enough so that you might be able to tap in the fall and still collect from the same taphole in the spring.

    We are currently engaged (2020 will be our third year) in doing research to determine just how long we can keep a taphole viable or whether there are other strategies to rejuvenate early tapholes WITHOUT creating a second wound or making the original wound substantially wound. I will also note here that tapping above or below a recent taphole with the idea of not making a larger wound by falling within the same staining column as created by the original wound (as you might have seen or heard about) is extraordinarily difficult. We find that tapping just a few inches above or below a previous taphole can entirely miss the original stain a good percentage of the time, and that most of the time the best is that it only results in a somewhat larger wound volume. It is not a recommended practice at this time.

    It's on the long side (48 min), but we have a video presentation on this on our YouTube page at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAm5...v&index=2&t=2s

    The "sapling" project is another climate change adaptation strategy. Small stems both freeze and thaw considerably faster than large stems, so production will likely be somewhat better in a warming climate.

    I often think our motto at UVM PMRC should be...Trying the crazy stuff so maple producers don't have to.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  9. #9
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    Dr. Tim,

    What is your opinion of the cause of climate change. Is it carbon based or cyclic? I think that is a consideration in long term planning/research. Of course by either belief the changes will be so slow that we will not be around to worry about it. Yet the technology you are developing will be a legacy to the future.

    Yet there is one other perspective...what if it's Biblical and these are only signs of the end times.......yeah I bet that get's a big cheer
    100 -110 taps
    Smokey Lakes Full pint Hybrid pan
    Modified half pint arch
    Air over fire
    All 3/16 tubing
    Southern Ohio

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckeye gold View Post
    What is your opinion of the cause of climate change. Is it carbon based or cyclic?
    I'll preface my remarks by saying that I am not a climatologist...I am a forest physiological ecologist (I study the function of trees in the environment), specializing in maple trees and maple syrup production. I don't do research on climate change itself, but rather look at what has happened to maple trees and the maple industry over the past century and what is likely to happen under different climate scenarios. That said, I do follow the research on climate change as it intersects with maple. In my professional opinion, there is considerable evidence that climate change is happening (by which I mean a general warming trend along with some attendant additional changes), and that this has been happening for some time. Moreover, there is good reason to believe that this will continue for some time. The real questions at this point are: how much, how fast, and how long, and how to react?

    There is ample evidence (again, my opinion) that this change is due, at least to a substantial degree, by human activities. That is not to say that there are no natural factors involved (of course there are), but when these are accounted for there is still a lot of evidence pointing towards anthropogenic sources playing a significant role in the weather we are experiencing and how climate is predicted to be experienced in the future.

    The argument you often see is that all scientists don't agree. That is undoubtedly the case. Scientists frequently don't agree...we are professional arguers after all. However, the vast majority of scientists (at least those not paid by fossil fuel companies) do consider climate change to be real, that what we have seen over the past 50 yrs is outside the range of "natural" variability, and that humans are at least part (and likely a big part) of the cause. The situation is very similar to that of acid rain back when I began my career. Eventually most scientists believed it was having a harmful effect on forests of the northeast (although you could always find those with different opinions...some of whom were paid by fossil fuel companies to say there was no "proof"). The proof was that when the Clean Air Act was finally passed and emissions were cut, things improved (slowly) and forest health got better. In short, we backed away from the edge that was pushing lots of trees (and fish) over. Acid rain is still around...just not nearly as bad, so the stress it causes doesn't cause fish or tree death (most of the time).

    Is there too much hype on both ends of the climate change spectrum...DEFINITELY. The sky is not falling, but at the same time there will be consequences. Not all will be good, not all will be bad. Depends upon what you're looking at. If you want to grow oak/pine in New England, climate change is a good thing. If you are a polar bear, it's a bad thing. What I find most interesting is that the beliefs are not driven by scientific information, but are best predicted by an individual's political persuasion. I believe decisions of this type should be driven by science, not by politics.

    Regardless of what you do and don't believe...my recommendation is to not buy a vacation home in Key West.

    Yet there is one other perspective...what if it's Biblical and these are only signs of the end times.......
    I have no comment on this theory.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

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