Sap for maple syrup in short supply this year - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Sap for maple syrup in short supply this year thanks to Mother Nature


Dunn County (WQOW) - Now that snow in our area is beginning to melt, sap is finally running from area maple trees. But this year's syrup season might be short lived thanks to the long lasting winter weather.

"We have about 6,000 gallons of sap total all season. Typically by now were somewhere in the 50,000 range," said Todd Thompson, Owner of Knapp Hills Sugarbush.

For decades now, sap has been collected from the Knapp Hills Sugarbush outside Menomonie to make maple syrup. But thanks to Mother Nature, this year could be one of the worst in Wisconsin history.

"We've been cold, in such a cold cycle; it hasn't warmed up enough to run. We need a good freeze-thaw cycle. At night it needs to get to be 22 to 24 degrees, a nice freeze. Daytime you want the nice clear sun, mid 40's, calm," Thompson explained.

Sap from trees in Thompson's area didn't start running until last week. That's two to three weeks behind a typical season.

"The season typically ends about April 8th to April 10th. So we're getting real close to the end of the season right now. Next week looks like the lows are going to be real warm, but all we can hope is that were going to have a warming cycle and with all this deep snow pack we can get back to some freezing temperatures," Thompson said.

In 2011, the state produced 155,000 gallons of maple syrup. But last year, Wisconsin only produced about a third as much. While 2012's shortage was due to warmer than normal temperatures, this season's cold spell likely won't help the chain of supply.

"I think it will raise the price...I think it will. We've had a real shortage last season along with if we have a short season this year, it should drive the prices up if there's a shortage," said Thompson.

But there will be hundreds of taps and lines hung here again next year, with the hope of a better harvest.

"You don't know what the outcome is going to be. You start at the beginning of the season the same, regardless if you're going to get 6,000 or 80,000 gallons of sap," Thompson said.

Nationwide, maple syrup production totaled just less than 2 million gallons in 2012. That number represents a 33% drop from 2011.

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