Weather to blame for Kentucky maple syrup shortage


Elizabeth Fields

TRIGG COUNTY, Ky. — While most people think of corn and soybean crops as those most affected by this year's weather, the maple syrup crop also took a huge hit.

T&K Farms in Cadiz, Kentucky, is one of the few farms in the state to even produce maple syrup. Tim Wagoner and his family have been tapping trees for five years and have been a growing business until this year.

Between the warm winter and the dry spring, sap stopped flowing and without sap, there's no syrup.

"We ended up with 37 gallons for the entire year and we had almost 300 more trees that we tapped this year than we had the previous year,"said Wagoner. "The previous year, we made right at 100 gallons."

There are 826 trees tapped on the T&K Farms, connected by more than three miles of tubes. From the last week in December until the last week in February, sap is supposed to slide through them into huge tubs.

Wagoner said usually, it takes around 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. This year, that number was off, too.

"This year for us and I don't know if it's because of the drought or the lack of temperatures, we averaged about 49 gallons of sap for one gallon of syrup. I basically had enough syrup to meet all of my pre-orders and we kept about five gallons for ourselves," he said.

Although the farm took a hit on syrup sales this year, the Wagoner's aren't giving up on the crop. They said luckily, they've been able to save each year just in case they had a tough season. Next year, they''d like to tap even more trees.

T&K Farms also makes and sells sorghum, jellies, jams and hay bales.