Why are maple syrup farmers struggling with less syrup this season

MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) – Normal Northwoods Maple Farm yields about half a gallon of syrup per tree harvested each year. This season, they’ve stuck with a lot less.

“This year has been a bit atypical, cooler than usual,” said Anthony Renken, co-founder of Northwoods Maple Farm.

In a typical year, Renken says, they’ll have half the syrup production in early April, but they’re only about 20%.

Trees leak the most when the temperature is in the 20s at night and as high as 30 degrees or as low as 40 during the day. That’s why mid-March to mid-April is usually prime sap season, says Renken.

“Right now we’re looking at early April and I’m sure there are other syrup makers starting to wonder, are we going to have a short crop? In fact, if there is, it’s just agriculture. What it is, you take the good with the bad. ”

Renken said he still hopes April can bring optimal weather for tree tapping. In the meantime, he’s teaching students about the maple syrup making process. On Thursday, he took students from the Virtual Rural Academy on a tour of the maple farm.

Charter schools are mostly online. They teach from kindergarten to high school. The director of activities said that although most of the children learn on computers, there are many opportunities for them to go on a field trip and mingle with their classmates. Thursday’s adventure took them outdoors.

“Take them out, move around, also learn together in a collaborative experience, see where the maple syrup comes from. It just creates memories for a lifetime,” said Josh Duwe, Operations Manager Rural virtual academy.

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