Canada’s maple syrup production reaches record high while honey output drops

Alberta honey producers say cold, wet weather leads to poor year
WATCH ABOVE: Cool and rainy weather weather is exacerbating what has already been a difficult year for beekeepers in central Alberta, according to the head of an industry association in the province. Sarah Komadina reports.

Production of two natural Canadian sweeteners moved in opposite directions last season, with maple syrup output reaching a record high and honey volume dropping to its lowest level in several years.

Statistics Canada says the maple syrup harvest rose by 34.8 per cent from a year earlier to a record 60 million litres (13.2 million gallons) on higher yields and more taps — despite a cold, late spring in Eastern Canada.

READ MORE: How an Ontario family turned a passion for maple syrup into a profession

The government agency, which uses imperial measurements in its report, says the total value of maple products rose to $517.5 million on higher output as prices remained relatively stable at $39.19 per gallon (about $8.60 per litre).

Maple syrup season: what you need to know about this sweet time of year
Maple syrup season: what you need to know about this sweet time of year

Quebec, which accounted for 91.1 per cent of Canadian maple syrup production in 2019, harvested 55 million litres (12 million gallons), up 35 per cent from a year earlier.

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New Brunswick maple syrup production surged 65.5 per cent to 598,000 gallons, Ontario was up 8.1 per cent to 502,300 gallons and Nova Scotia up 26.5 per cent to 70,000 gallons.

Meanwhile, Statistics Canada says honey production fell 15.4 per cent to 80.4 million pounds (36.5 million kilograms) in 2019 as a cold, wet spring and summer on the Prairies caused the area’s lowest output in seven years.

READ MORE: Head of Alberta Beekeepers Commission says rainy summer has added to industry woes

Production in Alberta, Canada’s largest honey-producing province, decreased 35 per cent to 25.1 million pounds (11.4 million kilograms), the lowest level since 2000.

Output was down 1.9 per cent in Manitoba and 1.4 per cent in Saskatchewan. Together the three provinces account for about 80 per cent of Canadian honey production.

Alberta honey producers worried some bees might not survive cold snap
Alberta honey producers worried some bees might not survive cold snap

The value of Canadian honey sold fell 13.8 per cent to $173 million, the lowest level in three years due to lower yields.

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The number of Canadian beekeepers dipped to 10,344 with more than half located in British Columbia and Ontario where bees are mainly used to pollinate fruit and vegetables.

READ MORE: Market prices among challenges facing Canadian beekeepers

The number of bee colonies in Canada was down 2.1 per cent to 773,182.