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Lamb Naturalflow Guidelines

How many taps does it take you to produce one gallon of syrup? Four? Three? How about two? Sound impossible? It isn't with a properly installed pipeline vacuum system. The secret to a good system is that the sap flow must not be restricted during the heaviest flow of the season. this means the relationship of line size and length to number of taps must be carefully considered.

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Check that tapholes are clean and have a vacuum of at least 15 inches of mercury.

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Strive to ideally put 5 taps on a 5/16" lateral line. Never put more than 10.

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Run lateral lines for a distance of no more than 10 feet.

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Run mainlines for a distance of no more than 1,000 feet without a vacuum booster.

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Match the size of the vacuum pump to the number of taps, 15 cfm per 1,000 taps is a good rule of thumb.

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Keep the maximum number of taps on a mainline within the following constraints:

  • 3/4" mainline should carry no more than 300 taps.
  • 1" mainline should carry no more than 600 taps.
  • 1 1/4" mainline should carry no more than 1,200 taps.
  • 1 1/2" mainline should carry no more than 1,800 taps.
  • 2" mainline should carry no more than 240 taps.

No pipeline will function at peak efficiency if the lines are not routinely inspected and properly maintained. Lines must be examined for obstructions and breaks or holes. Line tension should be adequate to prevent sagging. Proper slope requirements must also be considered so that lateral lines have a minimum slope of 5% and mainlines have a minimum slope of 3 to 5%.

Whether you are a new producer looking to put in your first pipeline system or an experienced producer looking to expand your pipeline capacity, your production and profits will vary greatly depending on the design and installation of your system. Extra time and effort put into designing the system can pay big dividends over many years. A simple schematic showing the layout of the mainlines, as well as an approximate layout of the lateral lines, can be an effective tool.

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