So I just came across a statistic in the maple syrup world that I was not only unaware of, but a number that I’m sure I didn’t make anywhere close to getting.

A modern day sugar maker will aim for 1/2 gallon of maple syrup per tap.

It was in this months “Maple News” paper when someone talked about expanding their operation and an experienced sugar maker asked why he was expanding when he hadn’t fully obtained full production out of what he had.

Apparently the old rule of thumb for a sugarbush was to get 1/4 gallon of syrup per tap. Now with today’s more modern methods, we should be striving for 1/2 gallon of syrup per tap. After reviewing my production log for 2018, I had 35 complete taps with roughly 6 gallons of finished product. I was thinking I would go to 50 total taps next year, but the saying from the old timer in the news papers rings all too true here. Why increase my tap count when I haven’t fully obtained full production with what I have.

In my defense: I didn’t have all my taps in right away, I stopped boiling early and missed the last two weeks, and I can use a vacuum system or different tap system to obtain more sap per tap.

So with 35 taps, I should have obtained a bare minimum of 8.75 gallons of maple syrup. Which I might have done if I kept going and had all my taps in on time. But to obtain 16 to 18 gallons of syrup with the same amount of taps?

Now that’s something to strive for!

So I’m going to start my own 36 tap challenge. How to get the most syrup out of those existing taps. 36 because it’s a nice round number and my OCD approves of it. It’s enough sap for a back yard maker to handle, keep track of, and boil.

So instead of expanding, I’m going to tweak my production. Time to track and mark all the sugar maples while the leaves are out. Maybe find a hill and a run of trees so I can maybe even hook up a vaccuum line system. I’m also going to look into the anti-bacterial taps that claim to allow more sap per tap to run.

So there’s the goal; Get as much syrup production out of as little as I can – keep me busy – but not so busy that it’s no longer a fun hobby.

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