The Leader Check Valve Adapter was invented by Dr. Timothy Perkins, Director of the University of Vermont's Proctor Maple Research Center. Co-designed and co-tested with Leader Evaporator and the staff of the Proctor Maple Research Center, this spout system is going to extend the maple sugaring season and has shown in testing a substantial increase in maple sap production as a result.
During the natural course of the maple syrup season within a maple sap tubing system that has vacuum installed to help increase sap production there are a variety of circumstances where sap reverses flow within the tubing system and returns into the tap hole of the maple tree. These circumstances include simple leaks that form in the system, turning vacuum systems on and off, the natural freezing and thawing within the maple tree, and a few other smaller reasons. This has two negative effects on the maple sap production of the tubing system. Bacteria from the plastic tubing throughout the system is introduced to the tap hole, and some of the sap that has already been harvested gets re-absorbed into the maple tree.
Bacteria is the way a tree closes down the tap hole to end the maple season. If bacteria from the tubing system returns into the tap hole, this process is accelerated and consequently the tap hole will close prematurely. As the tap hole begins to close from this natural process the sap runs will continually shrink regardless of the weather conditions. This is one of the reasons why new maple sap tubing systems almost always out produce systems with previous years of use, and why the older the system gets the tougher it is to reach the high production numbers that so many maple syrup makers are looking for.
By introducing a check valve system at the tap hole we can effectively eliminate the back flow of sap from the tubing system and as a result increase the sap production in two ways:
1. Sap that leaves the hole during short sap runs cannot be pulled back by the tree as it freezes.
2. We now know that bacteria closes the tap hole, and this system does not allow contaminated sap from the tubing system to be pulled back into the trees during the natural freezing and thawing cycles, each time a mechanical releaser trips, leaks occur, or vacuum pumps are shut off.
Please view the charts to the left that show results from testing during the 2009 maple season at the Proctor Maple Research Center
During the 2009 maple season 12,000 of the Check Valve Spout Adapters were tested at different maple sugaring operations all over the United States, and some in Ontario. The common theme amongst all of the maple syrup producers who tested the adapters for us was that early in the season they may have been getting a little bit more sap from the tubing systems with the check valve adapter, but at the end of the maple season the Leader Check Valve Adapter was severly out performing any of their other plastic tubing systems. In most cases maple producers reported that the maple sap tubing systems with the Leader check valve adapter installed was the only system that was still running at the end of the season.
The Leader Check Valve Adapter is amazing new technology that will allow all maple syrup producers to tap there maple trees earlier so not to miss the early sap runs, and know that the tap holes they have drilled in the maple trees are not going to dry out and stop running prematurely. In fact the last two weeks of the season the check valve adapter will continue to run like a freshly drilled tap hole.