142, rang Lainesse, Saint-Norbert-d’Arthabaska, QC, G0P 1B0
Saint-Norbert-d’Arthabaska’s experimental sugar bush is located approximately 80 km southwest of Quebec and a few kilometers from the city of Victoriaville.
The sugar bush itself occupies an area of 17.2 hectares and a maple syrup potential of 1800 taps. It is located at an altitude of 183 meters. The stand’s median age is 110 years. There is a wooded area of maple trees which allows a certain amount of practical work to be done for research and experimentation needs in maple sugaring, which is representative of the sugar bushes exploited for many decades for maple sugar production. On average, there are 1940 hours of sunlight per year as well as 1091 mm of precipitation, 810 mm of rain and 2807 mm of snow (10 mm of snow equals 1 mm of rain). The average temperature is 4.5 °C with a frost-free period that varies between 95 and 110 days per year.
The on-site installations allow for sap evaporation in an automaton-controlled environment. The pilot electrical evaporators, activated in 2010, offer improved work efficiency, which increases research productivity. A workshop is used for the maintenance and fabrication of certain components for current research. The vacuum system, installed in such a way that each collection network is autonomous, allows for the collection of precise data. It is thus possible to carry out, among other things, practical experimentation tests on the spiles. Moreover, in the building’s upper section, we find administrative offices and a room for conference and workshop presentations.
Saint-Norbert-d’Arthabaska’s experimental sugar bush is part of the larger sugar-maple domain, more precisely the basswood sugar bush domain. We observe a fluvial-residual-type deposit with a soil that drains relatively well even if the general grade is low (on average 2%). With regards to tree stratum, the sugar maple (Acer saccharum) is the dominant species with the following companion species: American lime tree (Tilia americana), American beech (Fagus grandifolia), ironwood (Ostrya virginiana), and occasionally the yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis). Within depressions, because of slower drainage, we find a few Eastern hemlocks (Tsuga canadiensis) as well as cedars (Thuya occidentalis). For its part, the shrub stratum is characterized by the pin cherry tree (Prunus pensylvanica) as well as by the striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum).
The Centre ACER chemistry and microbiology labs are housed at the Saint-Hyacinthe Research and Development Centre (CRDA), located at: 3405, Casavant West. Boulevard, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, J2S 0B8.
The installations allow for the execution of microbiological analyses; subculture count totals and totals for the identification of families and microorganism groups of maple sap and maple syrup. The chemistry lab equipment allows for the physical and chemical characterization of the sap and syrup (pH, dry matter, soluble solids, light transmission levels, etc.) and more specific analyses (sugars, organic acids, aromas, etc.) using modern techniques such as liquid and gaseous chromatographies. Equipment such as temperate chambers, fermenters and the electronic microscope service are accessible to Centre ACER researchers. Moreover, the personnel have access to sensory analysis services and to food processing pilot plants.