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Thread: Is 34 taps on one 3/16 line too many?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Oneida NY
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    10,943

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    Buckeye is right. While 34 taps is a lot, I read a few years ago that 37 might be the max. That said, on a lease I had a few years ago I had one line that I really went overboard on. I had 43 taps on one 3/16. It happened, when after setting up a line, I noticed a line of sugar maples going back into the woods from where the original line had started at the high end. Since the sap was running, I set up a line extension that had 14 more taps, and I just tied it as an extension to the existing line. From the original end tree, I removed (cut off) the end hook and used a coupler to join it to the original line with 29 taps on it.
    I planned to convert it to separate lines before the next season, however, it stayed with 43 for 2 more seasons, then I sold that lease (actually back to the landowner), he is now collecting the sap, because he retired last month.
    Was 43 ideal? Certainly not, did I cause a loss of sap potential, absolutely. However watching he sap/air (gases), sap/air march down the hill was still very satisfying. On slower sap flow days you won't likely lose any potential, but on real good sap flow days you will get less sap than you could with 2 lines.
    Dave Klish about 400 taps, down from much more. Will hold about the same for 2021
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
    3x8 raised flue evaporator
    250 GPH converted to electric, RO by Ray Gingerich
    6.32 KW solar system, 1.48KW is battery backed up, all net metered
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
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    5,403

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    Quote Originally Posted by buckeye gold View Post
    I think we get too hung up on perfection and max production set ups. We should evaluate what we want and if there is significant benefit in what we can do.
    Please note that while I don't necessarily disagree with you, I can't begin to tell you how many times people will listen to our presentations or email/call with questions, but in the end, instead of following any of our recommendations, will just add more taps as a way to get more sap. That approach works, but can be just as costly in terms of $ and labor. Or they say. "It's just a hobby, and changes will cost too much money.", but then turn around and ask why their production is so poor and how do they make more. We have a handful of people who contact us year after year asking the same questions about how to get better production, but then won't follow any of the suggestions we make.

    There are a good number of folks who are of the opinion that they can always do things on the cheap and get good results. The alternative approach is that sometimes it takes a money to make more money. Both viewpoints can be valid...depends upon your goals and expectations I guess. Good production on 3/16" tubing, while certainly possible, still takes some effort (proper installation, cleaning, sanitizing, leak checking) to make it work really well. Some people buy cheap tools....others will only buy the expensive stuff...both will work....one will most likely work better and last longer. Your viewpoint might depend upon whether it's a hobby or your income source.

    I have absolutely no problem with people who are happy with how they're doing it and are satisfied with where they are at, but don't complain about it if that's the way you want to go (again...not that you personally are doing that....but plenty of people do).

    The middle of the road approach also doesn't always work. We often see people buying massive pumps, but they have small mainlines and have no idea what their vacuum levels are out in the woods. Poor production...guess I need a bigger pump.

    If I'm driving around and see maple tubing I'll often stop and take a look. Lots of really nice installations out there....and a good number of poor installations. People who don't bother doing it correctly shouldn't wonder why they aren't getting good production, but they probably spent close to the same amount as a good installation would take. 10% more $ or effort would make a huge difference in production.

    So back to the original question...and a repeat of my original answer...34 taps is NOT too many if you have good slope, but it is at the high end of the recommendations for 3/16" tubing. Production is not likely to be optimal, but it will work fine (if fine is what you're after). Splitting it into 2 lines might make sense, and would help if one line developed leaks, but would increase cost somewhat. Splitting into the two lines with a Y fitting into one is not recommended.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Southern Ohio
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    Oh believe me I understand exactly where your coming from, Dr Tim. In my career I had statutory authority over a certain agricultural group (no I'm not saying who) and part of that was doing compliance and licensing inspections. I would see "Jerry rigged" systems all the time and know they weren't efficient or functioning properly. Not all where compliance issues, but I always gave recommendations on how to improve their set ups. There was a certain time of year that problems always showed up and you can imagine who would be rigging my phone off the hook and pleading for me to come tell them what was wrong. My answer was always, pull out your inspection report the answer is right there!


    Now you might find the same efficiency issues in my Maple bush, but I am quite satisfied with my mediocre efficiency. However; with that said I do agree with you, don't complain if you take short cuts when you know better and are just trying to be cheap. All I was saying is I think there is a fair number of us who are just fine with less than optimum. Actually, I do set up my lines with the best practices in my installs. Where I fudge is on the slope. I can't get optimum slope and distance and still get all my taps, so instead of doing two different set ups, one is good enough. If I ever get to the place I want maximized sap I will certainly change my approach. Right now I have more sap than I need.

    Have you or anyone ever done a survey on how many producers are serious business, making a substantial part of their income from Maple and how many are doing it as a hobby or side interest secondary business? when I look at the profiles here a whole lot are less than 300 taps.
    125-150 taps
    Smokey Lakes Full pint Hybrid pan
    Modified half pint arch
    Air over fire
    All 3/16 tubing
    Southern Ohio

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    258

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    I would be very interested in seeing a survey on the topic. I run everything I do as a business and something that I have to make money to support my family. I can't even fathom cutting corners if it would jeopardize production.
    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.
    2021- adding 500?

  5. #15
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Cabot Vermont
    Posts
    460

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    The old saying "YOU GET OUT, WHAT YOU PUT IN" That being said I hate to do things twice, Why do all the work for half the profit. Yes I need the money to keep the lights on and I want people that see my woods to say that looks great. It leads to more syrup sales. People talk, and that is why some can only sell bulk.
    Blaisdell's Maple Farm

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Southern Ohio
    Posts
    1,105

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    Just to clarify what I am saying. I am not saying it's ok to be sloppy and dirty. It's not ok to have leaky, saggy and spliced up multiple type tubing runs. I'm not saying it's ok to boil bad sap, do poor filtering or poor bottling practices.

    The original question was. "is it ok to have more than recommended taps on a 3/16th lateral". That and the optimum slope is "ALL" I am addressing and suggesting can be adjusted beyond or below the perfect set up. I am saying that a lot of producers will be happy going ahead with a few more taps on a line than recommended. Also, they can still gain if they don't have the full 30 ft of drop after the last tap. Even if you only have 10-15feet drop after your last tap, you can still gain some from a 3/16th run, but it won't be optimum. Your lines still need to be clean, well maintained and tight.
    125-150 taps
    Smokey Lakes Full pint Hybrid pan
    Modified half pint arch
    Air over fire
    All 3/16 tubing
    Southern Ohio

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Peru, Maine
    Posts
    721

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    I'll let ya know. We are setting up 1- 3/16" line this year with exactly 34 taps on it. I haven't measured but probably 20' of drop or so. 500' long and will drain into a tote. Going to set it up this weekend. We have always had 2 runs of 5/16" so I expect it will be improvement. Obviously beyond optimum for the 5/16" we had and pushing it for 3/16". Still, these trees have always been some of our best producers pushing out north of 2 GPT on a good run with the less than optimum 5/16" gravity line setup we had.
    270 taps on 2 Shurflo's, 31 taps on 3/16" and 120 taps on gravity. 421 total for 2021 season.
    Mountain Maple S3 controller for 145 of the vacuum taps
    2x6 Darveau Mystique Oil Fired Evaporator w/ Smoky Lake Simplicity Auto Draw
    Wesfab 7” filter press
    IBC totes in the woods, 800 Gallon CDL bulk tank at the shack

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Southern Ohio
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    1,105

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    Quote Originally Posted by mainebackswoodssyrup View Post
    I'll let ya know. We are setting up 1- 3/16" line this year with exactly 34 taps on it. I haven't measured but probably 20' of drop or so. 500' long and will drain into a tote. Going to set it up this weekend. We have always had 2 runs of 5/16" so I expect it will be improvement. Obviously beyond optimum for the 5/16" we had and pushing it for 3/16". Still, these trees have always been some of our best producers pushing out north of 2 GPT on a good run with the less than optimum 5/16" gravity line setup we had.
    That will be interesting to see, for sure. I am guessing you have it isolated so you know what is doing. I hope it works well
    125-150 taps
    Smokey Lakes Full pint Hybrid pan
    Modified half pint arch
    Air over fire
    All 3/16 tubing
    Southern Ohio

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Peru, Maine
    Posts
    721

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    Quote Originally Posted by buckeye gold View Post
    That will be interesting to see, for sure. I am guessing you have it isolated so you know what is doing. I hope it works well
    This particular spot is just 1 row of big sugar maples along a rock wall. It's just the 1 line to the tote, nothing else. Everything else around it is smaller oak and some beech. Southern facing and very open to the crowns hence the reason they are good trees and probably why they run so well. It should be pretty easy to compare with what we have done in the past. I have good records on it. If it doesn't work good, we'll probably run a 3/4" mainline and go back to 5/16" tubing next year, eventually adding a shurflo. I am hoping the 3/16" works good though.
    270 taps on 2 Shurflo's, 31 taps on 3/16" and 120 taps on gravity. 421 total for 2021 season.
    Mountain Maple S3 controller for 145 of the vacuum taps
    2x6 Darveau Mystique Oil Fired Evaporator w/ Smoky Lake Simplicity Auto Draw
    Wesfab 7” filter press
    IBC totes in the woods, 800 Gallon CDL bulk tank at the shack

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Middlesex, Vermont
    Posts
    308

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    My lines average between 15-30(max) taps per line. Most are 25 and that's my usual goal based on the average I've convinced myself to have with the amount of reading I've done on MT. I had gauges on all the lines last year and never get below 23-25 on the vac gauges (I'll leave some tolerance to accuracy there). But several times I pulled a tap or a fitting and experienced the "whhhoooossshhh" sound of vacuum being lost so I know they work very well. This was on all new lines/trees/taps/drops. Virgin set ups. I was very happy with their capability and I am over the required drop elevation to achieve the 3/16" benefits.

    Long story short, I shoot for 25 for the heavy days of optimizing sap potential and not overloading the lines. Do I lose sleep on my 30 tap lines? Not very likely.

    Now getting some decent sugar content #'s is a different story and topic.........
    Mead Maple "It's for the kids..."
    Paul Cerminara
    2019 - First season ever
    -Goal: 3 gallons
    -Season Total: 7.5 gallons - pulled taps after running out of firewood and time
    2020
    Built 2'x8' Oil Fired with Thor drop flue pans
    -Goal: 20 gallons
    -Season Total: 55 gallons

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