Maple producers hoping to recover from poor season

Sherry Martell
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NEW GLASGOW - Maple producers are tapping into innovative technology aiming to recover from one of the worst sap seasons in more than three decades.
Murray Johnston, president of the Maple Producers Association of Nova Scotia, said many producers experienced disappointing yields but doesn't expect an exodus from the industry because of it.
"I don't think anybody is planning on quitting," said Johnson, a New Glasgow-based maple syrup producer. "I'm not giving up yet. If anything, some will tap more than last year because we can sell all we can make."
The results of the season were recently distributed to association members in a quarterly newsletter.
The average yield per tap in 2009 was a little more than 0.26 litres, the poorest since 1987.
The total production for the province was the lowest since 1991, but there were 77,100 fewer taps in 1991 than in 2009.
Johnson said while some traditional maple sugaring operations had extremely poor yields, a few with vacuum pump systems were able to collect more sap.
"It should give you a better yield of 10 to 20 per cent more sap," said Johnston.
He said some producers are seeking assistance from government-sponsored programs to help cover the cost of adding new equipment such as vaccum pumps to their operations in an effort to improve yields.
Many other maple producing provinces and states reported a good maple season in 2009, and in some areas, a great season.
"It was Quebec's best season in years and our worst," said Johnson.
He was surprised by the poor weather conditions during the sap collection season, which typically spans several weeks, but only lasted a few days for some producers.
"Here it only ran good for three days and then it quit," he said.
During the next few weeks, maple producers will be walking the lines in their sugar woods, repairing any damage from fallen branches or animals that have a habit of chewing through plastic collection lines.

Organizations: Maple Producers Association of Nova Scotia

Geographic location: NEW GLASGOW, Quebec

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