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Michael Boriero
The Advocate

The Quebec Maple Syrup Producers revealed record-breaking numbers this past season, as the province yielded more than 211 million pounds of maple syrup, averaging 4.26 pounds per tap.

The Producteurs et productrices acéricoles du Québec believes this year’s maple syrup harvest, which shattered the record set in 2020, will be more than enough to refill the strategic reserve, and keep up with demand in Quebec, Canada and around the world.

“We benefited from excellent weather conditions this spring, but our producers can also take credit for the record. It’s not only a large quantity — it’s high-quality maple syrup made by women and men who know what they’re doing,” producers’ group president Luc Goulet said in statement.

“It wasn’t hard to be up over last year,” said David Hall, the association’s Monteregie-Est president. “It’s just the weather, it cooperated this year and helped the sugar content of your sap.”

Hall, who has 21,000 taps on his farm in Brome Lake in the Eastern Townships, said his team managed to produce 5.75 pounds per tap this year. The maple buyers were very active, he explained, and it has also helped the strategic reserve.

“The buyers are giving signs that sales are good,” Hall said, adding he could have produced more had he not been worried about ruining the quality.

When it comes to the strategic reserve, Hall reflected on its importance for the vitality of maple syrup producers in Quebec. It prevents large inequity gaps between producers, and it doesn’t favour those who made more syrup, he said. “Everyone gets the same percentage.”

Last year was a challenging year for the U.S. maple syrup market. The Quebec Maple Syrup Federation sold an abnormal amount of syrup to Quebec’s neighbours to the south. Hall said just over 20 million pounds was sold in bulk to U.S. packers.

With the quality of syrup being so high this year, Hall wondered whether buyers might hang on to their inventory, rather than sending it to the strategic reserve. The sugar content is superior to last year’s batch.

“Everyone thought that with the new technology, having a bad year was going to be a lot less of a deal, but you know, last year showed everybody that Mother Nature still has the last say in the whole deal,” Hall said, revealing there was one week where the sap ran all the time.

Despite a tremendously stressful pandemic, Hall noted the QMSP has been able to adjust quotas based on productivity. It makes it easier for producers to increase their quota, he continued, preventing them from staying stuck at the same level, while increasing profits.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished at the federation,” he said. “We’ve taken sales in 2010 from 58 million pounds to 180 million pounds with relative stability. We still have the ups and downs of the crop, but the price is relatively stable.”

The 2022 maple season at a glance

  • Quebec producers yielded 211,295,669 pounds maple syrup
  • The harvest broke a previous record of 175 million pounds set in in 2020
  • Average yield: 4.26 pounds per tap
  • 1,262 maple producers surveyed
  • The harvest is expected to replenish strategic reserve

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