excerpted from page 5 of 2023 CDL Catalog -By Christian Gosselin, Product Manager – Forest Division click for maple sugaring supplies catalog
Have you ever found yourself in one of our CDL stores, standing in front of the spout display wondering which model you should choose for your maple sugaring endeavors? Here are a few tips! They also apply if you’re using buckets rather than tubing.
As a reminder, spouts are the starting point of your harvesting system, so it’s no surprise that a bad tap or spout can have a catastrophic impact on your results! Throughout the years, CDL has always invested in research and development in order to offer high-performance products. We’re attentive to our customers’ feedback and strive to create the best spouts on the market.
COLOR AND TRANSLUCENCY
Let’s start by looking at some basic principles. A study by the Centre ACER1 in the spring of 2013 and 2014 showed that white spouts yielded 7% more sap than black spouts in the studied sugarbush. This variation is due to the spout’s color and its thermal absorption properties. A spout’s color can therefore compensate for temperature fluctuations in your sugarbush. For example, if your sugarbush is cold or if an area receives less sunlight, your taps will thaw more quickly during the day if you use black spouts.
Translucent spouts have the advantage of allowing you to see air bubbles, and therefore leaks, at a glance. Consider using blue translucent spouts as an in-between and smokey gray spouts if your sugarbush is cold.
Some producers also use different color spouts in different areas, allowing them to control the quality of their tappers’ work. Each tapper working with a different color, it’s easy to see who did what, and if someone needs a few pointers on their tapping method.
The spouts available on the market can be divided into three categories: permanent spouts, like our Maxflow line; one-year seasonal (“disposable”) spouts, like our Signature and our new SMART lines; and three-year seasonal spouts, like our Signature 3 line. Your choice should depend on how often you want to change your spouts, as well as the optimal vacuum level of your tubing network.
Why change spouts every year? Nothing beats new spouts for maximum performance, and changing them assures you they’re free from damage and bacteria. Using disposable spouts also ensures an optimal seal whereas with reusable spouts, the seal degrades more each year as the spouts are inserted and removed. But no matter the type of spout, watch out for micro-leaks: they’re invisible to the naked eye, yet will drastically reduce your network’s vacuum level. As for permanent spouts, they have a very long lifespan as long as they aren’t damaged by tappers or various forest creatures.
If you’re not up to changing your spouts every year just yet, our Signature 3 line is a good compromise that will give you a solid return on investment at a lower cost.
CONDITION OF YOUR MAPLES
When choosing a spout, you should also consider the condition of your trees and their healing process. Smaller taps heal faster, consider a 1/4″ or 17/64″ spout rather than 5/16″ if your maples have seen better days and have many wounds from the past seasons. You should also consider the thickness of the bark.
PROGRESS OF THE PROJECT
If you’re just starting to tap a virgin forest, you can use any equipment you like. However, if you already set up a tubing network in part or in all of your sugarbush, you need to know what equipment you’re currently using and make sure your new spouts are compatible with your existing fittings, reducers, and adapters, not to mention the drill bit size you have on hand.
We hope these tips make it easier to choose your next spouts.
Stop by CDL Barre, across the bridge from Spaulding High School- directly across from student parking lot-, at Miles Supply 143 Boynton St. in Barre VT. See map and store hours.