Increasing Maple Profitability Through Dropline and Spout Replacement

2012 Annual Report for FNE11-725

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2011: $6,920.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Michael Parker
Parker Family Maple Farm

Increasing Maple Profitability Through Dropline and Spout Replacement


Our project is attempting to address the benefits/costs of utilizing several different strategies for maintaining sap yields in a maple tubing system over time. Several new spouts have been invented over the past few years and many people are now experimenting with replacing tubing system components and using new/different types of spouts. Despite some research by the University of Vermont, Cornell University, and Centre Acer on the optimum spout/tubing replacement strategy, there is no conclusive evidence on what combination will produce the greatest return on investment. Furthermore, all of the research has been done in controlled experiments on a small and limited scale. Our project would be the first and only scientifically valid testing of many different strategies on a commercial scale by a private maple producer.

In 2012 Michael Parker and Michael Farrell began doing outreach by presenting data collected and analyzes at the VVS Maple School in Verona, NY in January 2012. This presentation reached several hundred maple producers. Data (of sap flow, dropline age vs. yield) was collected, recorded and analyzed again during the 2012 maple season. With two years of research complete we are forming a complete understanding of the effect of dropline and spout age on sap yield.

The research portion of the study are on track. However, in 2013 we need to more effectively accomplish the outreach portion of this grant. Also, GPS mapping of sugarbushes was a key component of this grant. That work has not been done. We have not been able to hire someone to do the task.

Objectives/Performance Targets


The 2012 maple season was a productive one, but the above average temperatures in March made the season short. However, the strange temperature (60s, 70s, and 80s) and short season served to magnify the results of this study. We saw this in our own research woods, as well as in general observation among neighboring maple producers. We tapped our newest droplines first, but we were finished tapping before the first sap flow in February. We did not experience the curve in production decline that we usually do with the middle and older age droplines. The fourth day of 80 degree weather completely stopped sap flowon any dropline that was not new. New spouts on old droplines had no effect this year. The new droplines ran through the April 4, 2012. We shut down operations on April 4th because we had made enough buddy syrup, not because sap flow had stopped.

We have learned much about sap yield and dropline replacement. Where economically possible we will change droplines frequently.

Parker Family Maple Farm continues to be owned and operated by Earl Parker under the continued management of Michael Parker. With office work done by Kristina Parker-Wingler. Michael and Jen Parker purchased additional woodlot property expanding the farm. The woodlot is in the process of being transformed into a sugarbush.

Michael Farrell of Cornell Maple Research Center in Lake Placid continues to be an active participant in the project. He continues to assist in analyzing and presenting our research to the maple industry.


Michael Farrell
Technical Advisor
Uihlein Maple Center
Bear Cub Lane
Lake Placid, NY 12946
Office Phone: 5185239337
Kristina Parker-Wingler
Project Manager
Parker Family Maple Farm
1043 Slosson Rd
West Chazy, NY 12992
Office Phone: 5184936761