The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted the latest research results from NNY Maple Specialist Michael Farrell, director of the Cornell Uihlein Research Forest in Lake Placid, NY.
Farrell evaluated the production efficiencies of two sizes of maple sap tubing in gravity-based collection systems. The Evaluating 3/16-inch Maple Sap Tubing Systems Under Natural Flow and Artificial Vacuum Systems in NNY report can be viewed here.
Newly-developed 3/16-inch interior diameter tubing has been suggested as a way to achieve greater and easier natural vacuum pressure to draw sap from the taphole in a maple tree. Each additional inch of vacuum results in an average increase of five to seven percent more sap.
The research trials hosted by Dr. Sam Yancey in Croghan, Lewis County; Chateaugay High School FFA in Clinton County; Sweeter Creations Sugarhouse in Madrid, St. Lawrence County, Paul Smith’s College in Franklin County, and the Uihlein Research Forest in Essex County compared the use of 3/16-inch with 5/16-inch sap collection tubing.
Farrell cautions that his report offers a first-year trial evaluation and that multiple years of data are needed to draw a firm conclusion. He notes, ‘This initial research demonstrated the effectiveness of utilizing 3/16-inch tubing systems and-or 3/16-inch droplines within an existing 5/16-inch tubing system to add production efficiency to collecting maple sap.’
The research at the Uihlein forest included switching out the traditional 5/16-inch tubing system with new 3/16-inch tubing in an artificially-pumped vacuum tubing system. The results were promising, leading to an average increase of approximately 5 percent more sap at a lower installation cost. Research there will continue to determine how the system will perform over time.
The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is a research and technical assistance program serving agricultural sectors in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. Funding for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is supported by the New York State Senate and administered through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Photo: Maple sap tubing trial at Uihlein Research Forest, Lake Placid, courtesy Michael Farrell.