Sap Flow Overview
Weather fluctuations in the past week have caused start-and-stop sap flows in most of the province. Sap is running for producers on vacuum in all regions now. The next few days are expected to be warm, but the days around the weekend will be colder and bring sugaring weather throughout much of the southern province.
In the south of the province, some producers are experiencing decreases in sap Brix as the end of the season draws closer. Some smaller producers on buckets in the southwest region have halted production for the season due to temperatures over 20 degrees C last week, but many others are still holding out for cooler weather in the next week. Filtration problems are declining on average across the south, but are notable in northern regions where sap has just begun to flow.
Some producers in areas with heavy spongy moth and tent caterpillar infestations last year expressed concern that it would affect their syrup season. Heavy defoliation could impact the annual growth of the tree, slowing down taphole healing. See the blog post on tree health for more information. However, maple syrup producers who have diverse woodlots have routinely been reporting reduced insect defoliator impacts, as both spongy moth and tent caterpillar prefer alternate tree species to maple. This is an excellent example of biodiversity-induced resilience.
I’ve been getting some questions about the delineation of regions for this blog post, so please see OMSPA’s map here and locate yourself accordingly. This map will also be included in the survey that anyone can fill out to provide me with updates on your season.
The weather has been warming up in this region, with two days in the mid-20s last week. Many small producers on buckets have stopped production, as freezing at night has not occurred. Brix appears to be decreasing in this region, with hard maples down to about 2.1 Brix and soft down to 1.7. Lowered sugar content can be a sign that the season is drawing to a close. Producers are making amber syrup with excellent flavour, and some have made 100% of an average year’s crop. Many producers are still hoping to see better yields this week.
The snow has all but disappeared from bushes in this region, but the last week brought frost to some areas. Sap flow has been moderate to good in the past week, with sap Brix from 2-2.5. Brix had dropped down from 2.7 to 1.8 for one producer during the warm spell last week, but has recovered. One producer who has soft maple is noticing cloudy sap and bud swell. Some gold, mostly amber and some dark syrup is being made. Producers have made 30-50% of an average year’s crop and are hopeful for next week after the cold snap this weekend. A few more good runs would see some producers surpass the quantity of syrup they made last year.
Sap flows this week were moderate to good with some warm weather this past week. Sap Brix ranged from 2.2-2.6 and producers made golden and amber syrup. Flavour ranged from good to excellent. Some sites experienced heavy sugar sand, but most had no issues. Producers have made from 30-40% of an average year’s crop. Despite imperfect weather conditions, many remain hopeful for a good season.
Weather fluctuations have been negatively impacting sap flows in this area, with producers experiencing moderate flows. Brix ranged from 2-2.4, with producers making golden, amber and dark syrup. Most producers in the area are not experiencing filtration issues and flavour is very good throughout. Smaller producers have made about 30% of an average year’s crop, while large producers are a little over 40%.
This region also saw hit and miss sap flows. The last week saw few cold nights, and some areas have had no sap flow from last Thursday to today. Brix ranged from 2-2.5, and producers made golden and high amber syrup. Syrup coming off the pan has been quite clean with minimal filtration issues reported. Producers have made from 15-20% of an average year’s crop.
Lanark & District
Sap Brix was reported at 2.2-2.4, with golden and amber syrup being made. Good and very good syrup flavour is reported, with no filtration issues. Producers have made from 30-45% of an average year’s crop.
Sap Brix ranged from 2.2-2.5, with most producers making amber syrup. Most producers had no filtration issues, but some are starting to see a moderate amount of niter. Producers have made from 10-30% of an average year’s crop. Some producers are reporting excellent flavour.
Sap flow was slow-moderate in this region in the past week, with only the past few nights bringing temperatures below freezing. Some producers just finished tapping last week. Snow is gone from much of the region. Sap Brix ranges from 2-2.5, with one producer saying their Brix is higher than usual. Producers are making golden to dark syrup, with mostly amber. Producers report sugar sand of varying nuisance levels, but syrup flavour is very good. Producers have made 30-50% of an average year’s crop. Today saw good sap flows and producers are hopeful for a freeze this weekend and good weather in the coming week.
My apologies for not including Quinte in the last update! I have updated the producer survey with a Quinte category.
In this region, weather this past week was unseasonably warm and fluctuated, bringing erratic sap flow. Despite the weather melting a great deal of snow and ice, there is still over 6 inches of snow in some bushes. Brix ranged from 2-3.3, with golden to dark syrup being made. Flavour was strong and excellent. Some producers had great difficulty filtering syrup and the resulting sugar sand is dark, while others had more manageable quantities of niter. Producers have made 2-10% of an average year’s crop.
Sap flow has entered its second or third week for some producers in the area, while some smaller producers are still waiting for their first run. This week saw light-moderate sap flows. Sap Brix ranged from 1.5-2 with amber syrup being made. The flavour was good and no filtration problems reported. Producers have made from 0-20% of an average year’s crop.
This region experienced good sap flow in the past few days, with some experiencing 3 consecutive flow days. Some smaller producers on buckets have yet to begin collection, and there is lots of snow in the bush. Sap Brix was 1.5-2 and producers made golden-amber syrup. Some mentioned it was darker than last year’s syrup around this point in the season. Sugar sand content was typical, but one producer mentioned filtering out dark, tar-like sugar sand. Producers have made up to 20% of an average year’s crop.
What’s happening in your bush?
I aim to update this blog weekly on Tuesdays/Wednesdays throughout the season. Are you interested in providing quick updates to me? Bookmark this quick and easy 9-question survey – all responses welcome, but responses on Mondays are preferred! You can also text, call, or email me with updates at:
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Regulatory Requirements for Maple Producers, Packers, Sellers, Advertisers and Transporters
OMAFRA’s regulatory requirements have gotten a slick new facelift after migrating to the ontario.ca website. A reminder that these regulations apply to any person who packs, labels, transports, advertises or sells maple products in Ontario and who does not operate under a federal licence from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). This means that regardless of whether you have 10 taps or 100,000, if you pack, label, transport, advertise, or sell maple products, you must follow these regulations. Please see the new links below.
- Regulatory requirements for maple products in Ontario: https://www.ontario.ca/page/regulatory-requirements-maple-products-ontario
- Density requirements for maple syrup in Ontario: https://www.ontario.ca/page/density-requirements-maple-syrup-ontario
- Premises and food grade material requirements for producing maple syrup in Ontario: https://www.ontario.ca/page/premises-and-food-grade-material-requirements-producing-maple-syrup-ontario
- Preventing lead contamination in maple products: https://www.ontario.ca/page/preventing-lead-contamination-maple-products
- Preventing mould growth in maple syrup: https://www.ontario.ca/page/preventing-mould-growth-maple-syrup
- Production lot codes for maple syrup in Ontario: https://www.ontario.ca/page/production-lot-codes-maple-syrup-ontario
- Maple Syrup Monitoring Program and results: https://www.ontario.ca/page/maple-syrup-monitoring-program-and-results
Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.