Vermont taps out at near record maple syrup production in 2017

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Vermont taps out at near record maple syrup production in 2017

Sun, 06/25/2017 - 7:44am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Falling just below 2016's record level, this past season's maple syrup production in Vermont of 1.98 million gallons is still twice the size of any other state and 46 percent of the entire production in the United States. The total value (retail, wholesale and bulk) will not be available until next year, but based on average sales from last year, the 2017 crop will be worth about $59.4 million. Retail represents only about 10 percent of Vermont production. Price per gallon for retail sales is about $47.40. Retail alone is worth about $9.4 million. Bulk sales represent over 80 percent of total sales, but at a lower price point ($25.40 per gallon in 2016). 

The 2017 United States maple syrup production totaled 4.27 million gallons, up 2 percent from the previous year. The number of taps is estimated at 13.3 million, up 6 percent from the 2016 total. Yield per tap is estimated to be 0.320 gallon, down 4 percent from the previous season. Producers were encouraged to tap earlier this season by the warmer than normal temperatures. The earliest sap flow reported was January 1 in Indiana, New York, Ohio, and Vermont. The latest sap flow reported to open the season was February 12 in Minnesota. On average, the season lasted 37 days, compared with 33 days in 2016.

The 2016 United States average price per gallon was $35.00 (Vermont $30.00), down $1.70 from 2015. Value of production, at $147 million for 2016, was up 17 percent from the previous season. 

New York and Maine are the second and third largest producers in the United States.

All producers have benefited in recent years from technological advances, which include vacuum pumps that can suck sap out of the tree and reverse-osmosis machines that reduce moisture content, which saves on fuel and boiling times (30 minutes from two hours). Vermont alone produced more than half-a-million more gallons of syrup in both 2016 and 2017 than it did in 2015, or about a third more.

Quebec is the world leader in maple syrup production. Quebec had its biggest year yet in 2017, with 152.2 million pounds (13.8 million gallons, or over 70 percent of worldwide production) of maple syrup from 44.2 million taps, which was also a record. In Canada, maple syrup volume is accounted for by weight, not fluid. Unlike Vermont, Quebec also tightly regulates the number of taps allowed in production.

Source: USDA June 2017. Photos courtesy Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets