Producers say this could be the worst year yet for maple syrup

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SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – Maple syrup farmers are starting to tap their trees, but they are worried about his year’s production.

Dave Hively is a maple syrup producer at the Misty Maple Sugar House in Salem. He is not a fan of the warmer weather we’ve been having because of its impact on maple syrup production.

“If you do not get cold nights below freezing in the 20s for a couple of days, the sap will stop running. The sap has stopped running now,” Hively said.

If the warm weather continues, it could be one of the worst years for maple syrup.

OSU Extension Educator Eric Barrett said a combination of freezing temperatures is the best for maple syrup production.

“Freezing temperatures at night and a nice warm sunny day that’s when the sap really starts flowing up into the tree,” Barrett said. “When it gets cold again, that’s when the sap is going back down into the root system.”

Hively says last year wasn’t a great year. They had 3,000 taps and only produced 450 gallons of maple syrup. In comparison, 2015 was one of the best years with 4,000 taps producing 1,400 gallons.

“If we don’t freeze up in the next week or so, we are done,” Hively said. “It’s that simple and it will be the worst year ever.”

There are roughly a dozen maple syrup farmers in the Valley, and they are all facing the same challenge – not being able to produce a lot.

“Our producers are just seeing this different weather pattern between the moisture in the ground and the temperatures just warming up,” Barrett said.

We made it to the fourth wettest February on record, and that’s not great news for Maple Syrup farmers either. A wetter season can lead to a less sweet maple syrup.

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