Winter Timber Sale

National report on maple syrup shows 17% annual drop in 2021

Wisconsin production jumped, but other states, including Vermont, dropped significantly

MADISON, Wis -- As sugar maple forest owners begin to map out their tapping season for 2022, a national report on production showed a 17% decline in pure maple syrup production from last winter.

The annual reported decrease came from the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

However, Wisconsin (which has the fourth largest production of any state) actually showed a strong increase to 300,000 gallons sold. This was up from 270,000 in reported sales for 2020.

However, Michigan showed a drop akin to the national statistic. Sales there declined to 150,000 gallons from 170,000 in 2020 and 195,000 in 2019.

The biggest decrease came in Vermont, the state with the largest production volume. Production there dropped by 25% from 2020.

In most states, the bulk of the decline occurred because of a shorter season. (The season is roughly defined as starting when daytime temperatures rise above freezing and ending on the date when overnight temperatures do not drop below freezing.) The national average season dropped to 27 days in 2021 from 34 days the prior year. Vermont showed the greatest decrease --- from 38 days to 28 days.

Wisconsin and Michigan both showed seasons curtailed by four days. However, Wisconsin increased its tap count which more than offset the impact of the shortened season. (Minnesota, with a small population of sugar maple trees, does not report syrup production.)

The giant in the maple syrup business is the Canadian province of Quebec, which claims to produce 72% of global production. (All of these reports are for pure maple syrup made from the sap flow from sugar maple trees. Much of the large store brands of so-called “maple syrup” is based on corn syrup.

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