April 2, 2019 3:15 pm
Updated: April 2, 2019 6:07 pm

Maple syrup production seeing slow flow this spring in Peterborough area

Peterborough-area maple sugar farms are experiencing a challenging spring. Production is down.


Maple syrup harvesters in the Peterborough area say production has been slow this spring season.

At Staples Maple Syrup farm in Cavan, co-owner Jill Staples says she and other area farms and sugar bushes have endured a reduced maple sap collection. Her farm is about 30 kilometres south of Peterborough.

READ MORE: Changing temperatures could mean short season for maple syrup producers

“Everybody’s starting a little bit later this year, and it just hasn’t been a good flow yet,” Staples told Global Peterborough last Friday.

The province stated Tuesday that in 2018, maple syrup production was at an influx of 2.1-million litres, an increase in volume of 9.4 per cent, generating more than $25 million in product sales.

This year, the winter is much longer, cutting the syrup season short, says Staples.

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She explains that sugar maple trees need very specific conditions in order for their sap to run.

“It should be about 6 C to 8 C in the daytime and then freezing at night,” said Staples.

But she notes this year’s weather conditions haven’t been ideal for sap collection. Chilly winds like those experienced in March can stop the sap from flowing out of the trees quickly, and can even risk tree branches falling onto the sap lines and breaking them, said Staples.

Jill and her husband have 3,500 trees to tap. At one litre of syrup per tap, Staples’ trees usually produce 3,500 litres of maple sap during a good season. On average, it takes about 40-45 litres of maple sap to make one litre of maple syrup.

But so far this spring, the family is coming up short.

READ MORE: Maple syrup could be the key to looking young

“So far, we’ve only got half a crop,” said Staples.

Ontario is currently ranked as the country’s second-largest producer of syrup, with Canada producing 80 per cent of the world’s maple syrup supply, the province stated.

With several weeks left until the end of the maple syrup season, Staples is worried. She says her family depends on this sap to make products like maple candy, maple butter and maple sugar. They need to have enough products to keep up with their sales demand all yearlong.

“This is my husband’s main source of income,” said Staples.

Despite the weather conditions, Staples doesn’t think the shorter maple season is due to climate change.

“There’s always good years and bad years,” she said. “It’s like everything in farming – you depend on Mother Nature so you can’t really plan very well ahead.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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