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United States USDA Maple Syrup Production Report 2010

United States maple syrup production in 2010 totaled 1.96 million gallons, down 19 percent from the revised 2009 total. The number of taps is estimated at 9.27 million, 3 percent above the 2009 revised total of 8.98 million. Yield per tap is estimated to be 0.211 gallons, down 21 percent from the previous season’s revised yield.

Vermont led all States in production with 890,000 gallons, a decrease of 3 percent from 2009. Production in New York, at 312,000 gallons, decreased 29 percent from 2009. Production in Maine decreased 22 percent from 2009 to 310,000 gallons. Production in Wisconsin, at 117,000 gallons, decreased 42 percent from 2009. In New Hampshire, production is estimated to be 87,000 gallons, down 7 percent from last season. In Michigan, production is estimated to be 82,000 gallons, a 29 percent drop from 2009. Production in Ohio is estimated to be 65,000 gallons, down 28 percent from 2009. In Pennsylvania, production is estimated to be 54,000 gallons, 41 percent below 2009. Production in Massachusetts, at 29,000 gallons, decreased 37 percent from last season and the lowest production in the State since 1995.  In Connecticut, production is estimated to be 9,000 gallons, down 31 percent from 2009 and 53 percent from 2008.

Temperatures were reported to be too warm for optimal sap flow in all States. On average, the season lasted 23 days compared with 28 days last year. In most States, the season started sooner than last year. The earliest sap flow reported was January 14 in Vermont. The latest sap flow reported was May 1 in Maine. Sugar content of the sap for 2010 was down from the previous year. On average, approximately 46 gallons of sap were required to produce one gallon of syrup. This compares with 43 gallons in 2009 and 39 gallons in 2008. The majority of the syrup produced in each State this year was medium to dark in color with the exception of Maine.

The 2009 United States price per gallon was $37.80, down $2.90 from the revised 2008 price of $40.70. The United States value of production, at $90.8 million for 2009, was up 17 percent from the revised previous season. Value of production increased in Maine, Michigan, New York, Vermont, and Wisconsin

New England (excluding Rhode Island): New England’s maple syrup production in 2010 totaled 1.33 million gallons, down 10 percent from the previous year. Vermont remained the top maple State in New England and the Nation, producing 46 percent of the Nation’s maple syrup. Taps in New England totaled 5.38 million, up 4 percent from last year and accounted for 58 percent of the Nation’s maple taps.

The 2010 maple season was rated mostly too warm in temperature, causing production to decline in all five New England States. Temperatures were reported as 81 percent too warm, 16 percent favorable and 3 percent too cool. The 2010 maple season began unusually early, catching many producers off guard as they were not ready for the first run. Conditions were mostly favorable at the beginning of the season; however temperatures warmed up too quickly and by mid- to late March, sap flow had begun to slow down and halt altogether in some parts of New England. This translated to a very short season for all States. Conditions in March were not favorable for those using buckets or gravity to collect sap. Vacuum systems helped salvage the season for some producers. The 2010 season was one of the worst on record, more so in the southern States versus the northern States.

Earliest dates for sap collection for each State were as follows: Vermont - January 14, New Hampshire - January 17, Connecticut - January 22, Massachusetts - January 29, and Maine - February 7.

Average start dates ranged from February 21 to March 1. Latest closing dates for sap collection for each State were as follows: New Hampshire – April 10, Connecticut – April 13, Massachusetts – April 21, Vermont – April 30, and Maine – May 1. Average finish dates ranged from March 16 to March 31. The sugar content of the sap was below average in New England, requiring approximately 47 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of syrup. The majority of syrup produced was medium amber followed by light amber and then dark amber; however northern States produced more light amber than they have in recent years.

2009 PRICES AND SALES

Across New England, the average equivalent price per gallon for 2009 maple syrup; varied widely depending on the percentage sold retail, wholesale, or bulk. The 2009 all sales equivalent price per gallon:

Connecticut averaged $61.50, down $0.80;
Maine averaged $32.90, down $3.90;
Massachusetts averaged $53.60, up $7.10;
New Hampshire averaged $50.60, down $3.20;
and Vermont averaged $35.10, down $4.40.
Vermont and Maine’s prices continue to be lower than the other States because of the high percentage of bulk sales. 2009 bulk prices for all grades averaged below the previous year in all States except Pennsylvania. New England’s 2009 gallon equivalent price across all types of sales averaged $36.31, a decrease of $4.61 from the 2008 price of $40.92.

CONNECTICUT

Fairfield: The season was strange and disappointing. There was a great run in early March, but temperatures did not get cold enough at night after that. There was another run at the end of the season, when nighttime temperatures got down to 19 degrees.
Hartford: Most of February was too cold and 90% of March was too warm. There was a 40 day stretch without a solid freeze until the end of March when it was too late to make good syrup. The season was short and one of worst seen in years.
Litchfield: The season was one of the worst in the past 30 years. Temperatures were too cold in February and too warm in March. The warm weather came earlier than normal this year resulting in only a few good sap runs and a very short season. Vacuum was needed this year to reach previous year’s production levels.
Middlesex: 2010 was the worst year ever. The first run was February 1 – 7, but was missed.
New Haven: The season was very short and one of the worst years on record. There were only a few days of sap flow due above average nighttime lows in March.
New London: March was too warm. There was only one good run which itself was only fair in volume. 2010 was one of the worst years in 46 years. Production was half of normal.
Tolland: The 2010 season was the worst season in 20 to 30 years. The weather went from very cold to warm quickly resulting in poor runs, a very short season, and low sugar content.
Windham: The end of January was the best run of the season, but many taps weren’t out yet. The first 2 weeks of February were too cold. March was too warm. Even when the weather seemed right, the runs were poor. 2010 was the worst year in 40 years.

MAINE

Androscoggin: Temperatures warmed up too much at the beginning of March.
Aroostook: Sap flow began early and ran steadily for the first 2 weeks of the season. Conditions were excellent and 2010 was a great season. Syrup was much lighter than last year.
Cumberland: The 2010 season started approximately one week early and ended 3 weeks early. Much of the early runs were missed. There was no contrast between day and night temperatures resulting in poor sap flow. Taps on vacuum had much higher yield than those on buckets and gravity. Sugar content was low this year.
Franklin: The season began 3 to 4 weeks early. A few got taps in early enough to catch those runs due to the lack of snow cover and mild temperatures in January. Overall, the season was short and too warm. Some did not boil into April, which is unusual.
Hancock: The season began 2 weeks early. Temperatures warmed up quick and stayed warm resulting in only few good sap runs.
Kennebec: Sap flow began early, but many weren’t ready and missed it. Temperatures got too warm too quick in March for any decent runs. Syrup grade was mostly dark and some producers made the best flavored syrup ever. The season ended a month early.
Knox: 2010 was an odd year. Temperatures were too warm too soon. Syrup was extra dark to medium in grade.
Lincoln: Sap began to run in February (around the 15th), but taps weren’t out to catch the flow. The later runs were not too sweet.
Oxford: Sap began to run before taps were out for the season. Sap was only collected during 2 weeks in early March. Temperatures warmed up too quick and stayed warm. Lack of well below freezing nights and exceptionally warm days were definitely a problem. The season ended earlier than expected resulting in a very short season.
Penobscot: The season began very early, at least 2 to 3 weeks ahead of an average year. Temperatures were too warm during much of the season, keeping the sugar concentration low. At one point, it took 75 gallons to make a gallon of syrup. When the sap ran, however, it ran hard. The season ended earlier than normal resulting in a very short season and one of the worst in 35 years.
Piscataquis: The season started too early. Temperatures were not favorable for sap flow. There was really only one very good week.
Sagadahoc: The season started early. Some good runs were missed. Sap volume continues to decrease. Somerset: The 2010 season started and ended early. Sap ran February 19 –21, and then stopped for 10 days. It ran again for another 7 days in early March. There was a 2 day rain storm mid-March. It never cooled off enough after that for sap to run. Temperatures were too warm for buckets and gravity. Overall, it was a very short season.
Waldo: 2010 was the earliest and shortest season ever seen. There were more deer ticks than good sap runs. Early runs were missed. Syrup quality was very good and mostly medium in grade.
Washington: The 2010 season began after March 1. Sap flowed every day for the first 2 weeks of March, and then abruptly stopped. Color of syrup was light to medium. Very little snow cover to start in combination with warmer weather earlier seemed to move the season ahead and shorten it.
York: The season began early and approximately 2 weeks of production were lost because taps weren’t out. Syrup quality and clarity was good and sap flows were strong, but a low sugar content, and short duration cut down on production greatly. Syrup grade began at light,
but then seemed to go right to dark for the best part of the season. The season ended earlier than average.

MASSACHUSETTS

Berkshire: 2010 was one of the worst years ever. The season started well, and then just stopped.
Franklin: 2010 was one of the poorest years on record. Daytime temperatures were average to above average and nighttime lows did not get down into the 20s. There was an abundance of rain in March which hindered sap flow and gathering. High vacuum system yielded decent production, however buckets and gravity would not run. Sap only ran well for about a week. The season was over by the end of March. Syrup has excellent flavor and was mostly light in grade.
Hampden: This year was one of the worst years ever. Temperatures warmed up too quick and stayed warm. It never froze at night. There were only a few good runs.
Hampshire: 2010 was one of the worst seasons in history. Temperatures were too warm at night and too hot during the day. There was never a good run, just a very slow drip. Sugar content was low. Vacuum helped to increase production, however if buckets or gravity were used, yields were very low.
Middlesex: Temperatures were too warm for sap flow. The season ended a month early. Worcester: The 2010 season was one of the worst ever. Sap flow started early, but many taps weren’t out. Sap ran the first 2 weeks in March, then very little after March 10 as temperatures got too warm too soon. There were very few days of cold nights and warm days. It was a very short season.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Belknap: Sap ran the last 2 weeks of February, but many did not have their taps out. Temperatures were too warm in March. There weren’t many very good runs. The season was short and one of the poorest in years.
Carroll: Great start to the season in late February, followed by so-so sap flows for the rest of the rather short season. Flows ended by the third week of March. There was a cold. snap late March resulting in a late run, extending the season slightly. Syrup was mostly light and medium grades.
Cheshire: Season started in late February with strong flows. Temperatures warmed up during March. There were not enough freezing nights for optimal sap flow. Sugar content was low and the season was short. Vacuum systems made it possible to salvage the season.
Coos: Early start with an early end. A late snow storm knocked down some lines. Syrup was fancy at the start of the season, but the warm weather and lack of rain quickly decreased sap output and syrup went to dark very quickly. Vacuum made the difference this year.
Grafton: Sap ran very early this year. Heavy snow in late February into early March knocked down some lines. Conditions were favorable in early March. Mid-March was too warm causing syrup to be dark and B. Temperatures cooled down toward the end of March, but by then it was too late to do any good. This was one of the worst years for maple syrup, however vacuum systems helped bring production up.
Hillsborough: Very nice syrup was made in February and early March. Sap flow slowed down to a trickle and syrup quality suffered with the arrival of rain and warm temperatures mid-March. This was one of the worst years on record.
Merrimack: The season started early. There was a great first run and a good last run with very little in between. Temperatures mid-season were extremely warm. Nighttime lows did not drop below freezing until midnight or later. Poor conditions slowed the flow, destroyed syrup flavor, and reduce sugar content. High vacuum helped. It was one of the worst seasons in years.
Rockingham: This was the worst years in history. Sap flow started late and ended very early, several weeks sooner than normal. Nighttime temperatures were favorable only for a couple of nights. Poor, dribbling flows almost every day caused sap quality to deteriorate by the time there was enough to bother collecting and boiling.
Strafford: The year of only half a season. Sap began to flow a week earlier than ever before. Flows were decent in late February. Warm temperatures and very few nighttime freezes hindered sap flow. The season was over mid- to late March.
Sullivan: Conditions were favorable during the last week of February and into the first week of March. Temperatures warmed up quickly mid-March and remained warm even at night, not freezing hard enough to promote decent quality syrup or sap flows. It was a very brief and variable season.

VERMONT

Addison: The season began and ended 2 weeks early. Temperatures were too warm in March and didn’t freeze at night for optimal sap flow. Syrup grade began light then turned dark quickly. Color and flavor were better than last year. Vacuum made the difference.
Bennington:  The season started off good, but warmed up and stayed warm. Light fancy syrup was made early on, but color went straight to dark. This was the worst year ever for quantity and quality. Those with vacuum fared better.
Caledonia: Sap started flowing earlier than normal this year and most weren’t ready for it. Temperatures warmed up too quick in March causing the flow to shut down 3 weeks earlier than normal. Syrup grade was light and quality was excellent at the start of the season. Syrup turned dark late in the season.
Chittenden: The season began late February and ended approximately 2 weeks early. Sap ran great for the first 2 weeks. Temperatures then warmed up too fast and stayed warm, slowing down sap flow. Sugar content was low this year. Buckets were hurt by the long spells without a good freeze.
Essex: The season started and ended abnormally early. Taps weren’t out until March 6 and a week of good sap weather was missed. Most of the season was very warm with a lack of cold nights. Color was unusually light, and never dropped below dark amber even at the very end.
Franklin: Season started early and the good first runs were missed. Conditions were favorable early, but a mid-season warm up with no cold nights slowed down sap flow. Sap flowed steadily nearly every day on vacuum, while buckets only ran for about 2 weeks. The season ended 1 to 2 weeks early. Sugar content was low, but color was great with a lot of extra light syrup produced.
Lamoille: Missed the better part of the season as it came early. Once it started in late February, there was never a day of rest. Much of the crop was made by mid-March before the weather warmed up too quick. Syrup had good flavor and was very light early in the season with darker than normal later on. Vacuum helped to continue sap flow despite the poor conditions.
Orange: Season started out  early and with favorable conditions sap flow was steady for 10 days. Then it got too warm resulting in a shorter season. A lot of light syrup was made at the beginning, with a lot a dark made towards the end. Without a vacuum system, production would have been drastically lower.
Orleans: Season started early with a bang, then towards the end, it just flushed out resulting in a very short season. A lot of light fancy was made, with very little dark. High vacuum saved the season for some.
Rutland: Season was short and too warm too early. The  weather was favorable in early March, with a good amount of fancy made early, but grade turned to dark later due to warm temperatures and lack of freezes at night. Those using vacuum systems had a better season than those using buckets.
Washington: The season was early and short. Sap ran well the first 2 weeks in March, and then was sporadic. Sugar content was low, leading to lower than normal production but a lot of fancy syrup was made early on. Vacuum systems overcame the poor weather conditions.
Windham: Heavy snow late February delayed the start of the season for some. The weather was unpredictable causing variable sap flow. Windsor: Vacuum systems were essential for production this year. Taps not on vacuum did very poorly. The season started out strong, but a warm spell with a lack of freezing nighttime temperatures hindered sap flow mid-March. The season was very short. Syrup quality was excellent with very light made in the beginning and very dark towards the end.

Source: USDA