Vermont leads US in maple production, bad weather results in lower totals

-A A +A

Vermont leads US in maple production, bad weather results in lower totals

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 10:26am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont continues to lead the United States in maple production by a wide margin, producing 42 percent nation's maple syrup, according to data released by the US Department of Agriculture in June. Nationally, maple syrup production in 2014 totaled 3.17 million gallons, down 10 percent from 2013. Vermont was down 10.8 percent. In 2014, cold temperatures decreased season length. The number of taps in the US is estimated at 11.4 million, down slightly from the 2013 total. Yield per tap is estimated to be 0.279 gallons, down 10 percent from the previous season’s yield. All states with the exception of Pennsylvania showed a decrease in production from the previous year. Cold temperatures contributed to a shorter season of sap flow than last year. However, production, helped by new technology like vacuum taps and reverse osmosis to reduce boiling, has increased production greatly over the years. In Vermont, the number of gallons produced in 2012 was 750,000, in 2013 it was 1,480,000 and in 2013 it was 1,320,000. Despite the increase in production, there has been only a small drop in price (see charts), which has resulted in the total value of maple increasing to nearly $50 million in Vermont.

The latest sap flow reported to open the season was March 8 in Wisconsin. On average, the season lasted 29 days, compared with 37 days in 2013. The 2013 U.S. average price per gallon was $37.40, down $1.70 from the 2012 price of $39.10. The U.S. value of production, at $132 million for 2013, was up 77 percent from the previous season.

Northeastern Region (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont): The Northeastern Region’s maple syrup production in 2014 totaled 2.75 million gallons, down 7 percent from 2013’s production of 2.96 million gallons. Vermont remained the top Maple State in the Northeastern Region and the Nation, producing 48.1 percent of the United States’ maple syrup. Taps in Northeastern Region totaled 9.77 million, up 1 percent from last year and accounted for 86 percent of the Nation’s maple taps.

Sugar on snow at the Trapp Family Lodge in April. TOP: At Trapps, Governor Shumlin and Ag Secretary Chuck Ross can't take their eyes off the boiling sap, like everyone else. Courtesy photos.

The 2014 maple syrup season in the Northeastern Region was considered mostly cold. The shorter 2014 maple syrup season offered several instances of freezes and overabundance of snow during February and March. The delayed start of the season resulted in decreased maple syrup production in the Northeastern Region. A very few number of operations reported that the weather was too warm but that may be related to the late collection of sap. Producers that have been affected the most by the weather patterns of 2014 reported their sap not flowing at all. The season started and ended later for every state in the region for the maple syrup producers compared to last year. The average season lasted over one week shorter in the Northeastern Region than it lasted in 2013. In short, the decrease in production from 2013 is primarily explained by highly favorable weather conditions experienced last year. Nevertheless, despite the challenges faced in 2014, there was still a strong quantity of maple syrup produced this year with Pennsylvania producing a record high 146,000 gallons of syrup.

Northeastern Region 2013 PRICES AND SALES: The average equivalent price per gallon for maple syrup varies widely across the Region depending on the percentage sold retail, wholesale, or bulk. The 2013 all sales equivalent price per gallon in Connecticut averaged $71.00, up $7.60; Maine averaged $32.00, down $1.00; Massachusetts averaged $59.10, up $7.60; New Hampshire averaged $53.40, up $0.90; New York averaged $43.60, up $0.10; Pennsylvania averaged $35.60, down $3.80 and Vermont averaged $33.40, down $2.10. The high percentage of bulk sales in Vermont and Maine kept average prices below the other States.

Source: USDA