2016 Sugaring Season
Short and long term weather forecasts are one of a syrup producer's best tools to help them prepare for a sap run. Cold nights below freezing with daytime temps above freezing will always get that sap moving. In addition, a falling barometric pressure that accompanies an approaching storm will also increase the local sap run.
These are strictly observations on what's happening in our area and generalizations on what we THINK will happen. Please note that every area is different and should therefore be tapped accordingly.
The warm weather is here for good and that means syrup season has come and gone again for another year. Many producers around the state are reporting similar to our production numbers - 80% to 90% of an average crop. There are small pockets in the state that did better than average and some that did worse than average, but I believe the state as a whole was just slightly below. The quality was good this year so there is plenty of great tasting Wisconsin pure maple syrup to go around. As everyone starts their long process of cleaning up for the year I wish you all a good summer.
It appears as though the season is coming to a close. Overall the season was much better than anyone thought it would be after the rocky, warm start we had, and most of the producers I am talking to in our area are saying about 80% of a crop, with primarily Amber to Dark syrup with great flavor. The trees in our area are starting to bud and even with the cold weather ahead I think the trees are getting too far along. There are still producers hanging in there to see what happens in the next few days, but many, especially south of us, are starting the clean-up process. The northern areas are still making good syrup and with cold weather coming, they should all get to at least an average crop.
Most of the producers around us are making good tasting syrup with good color. Yesterday was one of the best days of the year - we gathered three gallons of sap per tap out of our woods. It's been a pretty steady sap flow this week and we're making syrup almost every day. Most are now reporting close to 3/4 of a crop. I hope you all have a wonderful Easter weekend and thank God for the great sapping weather this week and next.
It's been a couple of good days, and with a snow storm coming today and tomorrow, expectations for a good season are high. Each of the past two days we've collected about two gallons of sap per tap. The sugar content is a little low - just under 1.9%, but still respectable. The long term forecast shows perfect weather right through the first week in April. If we can still make good syrup in April, it will have been a good and successful season.
Two great reasons to be optimistic and thankful – freezing nights and no buds on the trees. I visited a few places in our area last night and both were making syrup and excited for what is yet to come. Even though they were only at about 25% of a crop, we all felt confident that at least 75% of a crop is a real possibility. The next 10 days will be the busiest and will ultimately tell the tale.
Good Luck everyone and make a lot of syrup this weekend!
The weather was very nice this past weekend, but not exactly what we want for sap production. Most of the producers I have talked to in our area (including us) are at a little better than 25% of a crop right now. The good news is that the weather forecast is stil showing freezing nights starting on Wednesday, so things are looking up. I think there is a good chance we could turn in an average season - keep on cooking everyone!
I woke up excited and happy this morning – frost everywhere and the ground was frozen solid. We had the hardest freeze we have had in weeks, bottoming out around 22 degrees.
The forecast for today still says the low was 45 last night, so if we can continue to fool the weather man, we may be in for a good weekend. Of course last night may have been a fluke, but for us sugar makers it was a glorious site and I am sure we all breathed a common sigh of relief.
Sap should be running today!
The warm weather is here, right when we don't need it, but if we can get through to next Wednesday and Thursday, there is still cooler weather in the forecast. We have had warm spells like this in years past and as long as the trees don’t bud, there is still plenty of time to make a good crop of syrup.
By now everyone should have had their first cooking under their belts, and of those that I have talked to, all have made good quality syrup. After this warm spell I would expect that there will be much more dark syrup made, but all it takes is a good strong run to bring back the quality and color.
It's still way too early to give up, but don’t let your sap sit in this warm weather. Cook it down as much as you can and keep it cool so it does not spoil – it only takes a day or two for sap to spoil in this 60 degree weather.
I hope everyone is ready for this weekend, as I expect it to be a good one for sap production. The extended forecast looks a little scary, but the highs have gotten a little lower and the lows are just hitting 32 degrees, so for those of us in the country that hopefully means we get a few degrees less than that at night.
Looking ahead, the forecast is suggesting that temperatures will return back closer to normal around the 16th, so hopefully it does not get too warm before that. Keep in mind that the average start date for this area is around the 20th of March, so it is way too early to think the season is over.
Stay positive and the sap will come - it always does.
It looks like I was wrong last week about the 10 day forecast, as the warmer than predicted temperatures this past weekend had many in our area out tapping their trees, and you don’t have to look very hard to find someone that boiled some sap either. Although the next four days look to be cold, there does appear to be another warm up coming for this next weekend.
If you have not started tapping your trees yet, I think it is time. Larger producers should be well underway and any small hobbyist that has not yet tapped probably should plan to do so this Friday or Saturday morning. I think there will be a sap run over the weekend just like this past weekend, but maybe even better.
I have talked with some producers in the east and many are already reporting a ¼ of a crop this year. It is early, but it is about to start here.
I have not yet heard of anyone in Wisconsin or Minnesota that is tapping their trees, but I'm sure some producers have started, especially the larger ones that need more than a week to get all their trees tapped. Looking at the weather forecast for the southern part of Wisconsin, I don’t think you have much for snow cover and warm weather is coming, so you may want to put out some test taps this week.
The 10 day forecast for our local area and the northern half of Wisconsin shows only a few days with highs above 32, so I believe we still have some time. When it gets to be the first of March make sure you are ready because there is a good chance the first warm spell after that will produce sap.
Good luck everyone.
We've been lucky to have had a mild winter to this point, but it's yet to be determined as to how that might affect the 2016 sap run. There are many parts of the country that have made syrup already, but I haven't heard from anyone in the midwest that has made any syrup. I am sure there is a little sap running with the warm weather we are having now, so it might be fun to run out and tap a tree to see what it is doing. However for most, especially in the northern half of the state, I think it is still a little early.
With less frost than usual in the ground, sap season may come faster than normal this year, unless we get another big cool down. It's time to make sure you have all your ducks in a row and are ready for when the time comes.
Good Luck everyone and hope for a great 2016 season.