Maple syrup winners from the 2018 Farm Show. VBM photo.
by Timothy McQuiston Vermont Business Magazine The 2018 sugaring season was a long and productive season for Vermont’s sugar makers. Once again Vermont led the nation in making maple syrup, producing nearly 2 million gallons of the sweet product. It means about half of the maple syrup produced in the United States (46.6 percent) is made in the Green Mountains. The 2018 total was 1.94 million gallons, down 2 percent from 2017 (1.98 million gallons), which fell just below 2016's record level (1.99 million gallons).
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Vermont maple syrup producers set 5.67 million maple taps in 2018, 5 percent more than during the 2017 season, and the largest number of taps since 1928 according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. It was also a long season with sugar makers in the woods on average 52 days. That’s nearly one week longer than in 2017.
US production also was down 2.6 percent to 4.16 million gallons. The number of taps is estimated at 13.7 million, up 3 percent from the 2017 total. Yield per tap is estimated to be 0.304 gallon, down 5 percent from the previous season. The earliest sap flow reported was January 7 in Pennsylvania. The latest sap flow reported to open the season was March 1 in Minnesota. On average, the season lasted 42 days, compared with 37 days in 2017. The 2017 United States average price per gallon was $33.00, down $2.00 from 2016. Value of production, at $141 million for 2017, was down 4 percent from the previous season.
New York was second to Vermont with 806 million gallons in 2018 and Maine third at 539 million. New York saw a steep increase and Maine saw a steep decline in production over the last year, in which they were at 760 and 709 respectively (SEE TABLE BELOW).
Vermont Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts said, “Vermont sugar makers continue to lead the nation. Their commitment to quality stands alone producing a natural product that’s beloved around the world.”
Vermont maple syrup production in 2018 totaled 1.94 million gallons, down 2 percent from 2017. Vermont has led the nation in maple taps since 1916, highlighting the depth and importance of the industry to Vermont’s economy and culture.
“Basketball might consume the nation’s attention during March Madness, but here in Vermont its Maple Madness, a much tastier option,” said Commissioner of Tourism and Marketing Wendy Knight. “Our top standing in maple production makes Vermont a delicious destination to sample maple products and sip inspired beverages.”
Other maple statistics released by USDA:
- Yield per tap is estimated to be 0.342 gallon, down 7 percent from the previous season.
- The earliest 2018 Vermont sap flow reported was January 12.
- On average, the 2018 season lasted 52 days, compared with 46 days in 2017.
- Vermont typically tapped between 5.5 and 6 million trees prior to 1935 but declined to around 1.5 million in the 1960’s.
- In 2003 Vermont tapped 2.12 million trees and has been steadily increasing that number to the 5.67 million in 2018.
- Since 2003 Vermont’s maple syrup production has increased from around 500,000 gallons to almost 2 million gallons.
Source: June 13, 2018 / Montpelier VT – Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets