Newswise — As mild winters become more common, maple producers across New York are trying to find ways to get the best runs in before the end of the season.

Aaron Wightman, co-director of the Cornell Maple Program and a New York state maple specialist, says that more and more maple producers are tapping earlier to offset the impacts of vacillating temperatures.

Wightman says:

“Maple sugaring season is off to an early start in the southern half of New York state with many producers reporting a larger than average crop in February. Some producers in the southern half of the state have already passed 50% of their season goal, while the Adirondacks remained mostly cold through this same period with little syrup production. Producers in North Country are anticipating the onset of good sugaring weather later this month.  

“When to start the sugaring season is very much in flux as people are trying to figure out the new normal of climate change. In Central NY, it’s typically a safe bet to tap in mid-February to catch all the good runs before tap holes close up. Now, we’re seeing a lot more of the freeze-thaw events required for sap flow in January and February.

“Tapping earlier is a gamble as producers want tap holes to stay open long enough to catch the typical big sap runs that occur in March and sometimes April, but it’s a risk more and more producers are willing to take because there is so much variability.

“The Cornell Maple Program works to develop new methods and technologies to combat the challenges created by climate change. More information is available at”