PORTLAND, Maine — A longer sugaring season helped Maine’s maple syrup output leap an estimated 22 percent while the number of taps in the state remained basically unchanged this year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistic Services reported Maine maple producers made about 675,000 gallons of syrup, closing the gap on total production in second-place New York.
Top producer Vermont, which put out almost 2 million gallons last year, and New York both also benefitted from a longer sugaring season, as production was up substantially in those states, too.
Maine was in third place for total output but second place for yield per tap, according to USDA figures.
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The total value of the harvest isn’t yet clear, but the USDA in a news release indicated that prices generally were down in 2015, because of rising supply and a weak Canadian dollar that made imported syrup more affordable to wholesale buyers.
Maine’s output rose at the fastest pace since 2013, continuing a relatively steady rise in maple syrup output.
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Maine’s yield per tap also has increased in recent years and was up about 21 percent in 2016 from one year earlier.
The USDA will release estimates of the total value of the 2016 maple syrup harvest next year. In 2015, it estimated the crop was worth about $15.4 million to Maine producers, down from a high in 2014 of $17.1 million, across about 450 producers.
The average retail price for Maine producers in 2015 was about $55.50 per gallon.