Tapping for sap with new technology

Freezing and thawing patterns in the month of January made sap collectors get started early in their sap collection and production of maple syrup.

New technology is being used at the Maple Row Sugarhouse and is helping the collection process be more efficient. The technology is called Smart Tracks System manufactured by the company H2O.

Owner of the Maple Row Sugarhouse Daniel Olson said this new equipment will enable them to cut back on labor costs, along with constantly be able to monitor the woods.

“We’ll be able to look at our phones at the sugarhouse and go ‘we’ve got a full load of sap, let’s go get it.’ We’re not wasting time and money to run a truck down the road to collect sap.”

There are sensors placed throughout the woods that cover 87 acres of taps.

"A gateway that communicates all the sensors from the woods and puts it on the tablet and then from the tablet we’re able to see it on our phones whether we’re at the sugarhouse or anywhere in the woods,” Olson added.

The technology also allows for his crew to pinpoint where there may be a problem with a tap or lower vacuum spot in the woods.

“This gives us a map and a GPS layout of what is happening in the woods so you can every line in the woods. You use less manpower because you’re not wondering around in the woods looking for something that may be there or may not,” he said.

This technology is all new for this season. Olson said he got the idea from Vermont, where he visits every year to see how they are pioneering ways in sap collection.

“We’re able to keep track of vacuum in the woods and vacuum equals production,” Olson added.

Being able to check on his taps from anywhere with the click of the button on smart phones lets Olson know everything is running smoothly.

“It’s a piece of mind not waking up in the middle of the night going ‘oh man I just feel like I got a problem up there’ and you drive all the way to the woods to find out everything’s okay.”

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