Maple syrup producers rely on new technology to fix sticky situations

BY Justin Scuiletti  April 1, 2014 at 3:48 PM EST

Video by the Associated Press

Maple syrup production has just become a whole lot sweeter for producers looking to minimize problems during their harvest, which only lasts for about one month.

New monitoring systems are allowing maple syrup producers to keep watch on the tubes that draw sap from trees and deliver them to the sugar houses. If a tube is damaged, the technology can immediately detect the affected lines. The process is saving producers from losing valuable sap, typically lost because of damage from animals and falling tree limbs, as well as numerous hours spent searching lines for leaks.

With 40 gallons of sap required to make one gallon of syrup, the less lost, the better.

Solar-powered radio units strapped to trees monitor the pressure in each tube and transmit data to computers and smartphones. With a simple check of whether a particular area is green or red — green signaling all good, red indicating a problem — users can quickly identify problems in specific places. Text messages can even be programmed and sent in case a situation arises.

The United States produced a total of 3.25 million gallons of maple syrup in 2013.