Planning on selling timber?
Log prices aren’t where they were last winter
January 5, 2023 | View PDF
Log buyers are actively looking for wood right now and while prices aren’t where they were last winter, they are certainly good and on par with past years. Prices are likely seeing a dip from last year because housing interest rates are up quite a bit and home buying is less attractive. That being said, winter is usually a difficult time for small landowners to access their trees for harvesting anyway, but if you are set up for it, it can prove to be beneficial as inventories are typically lower now than in the summer. Douglas-fir prices are currently sitting in the $800/mbf range for 6 to 9-inchers and $900/mbf range for the 10-inch pluses. Of course, large logs and premium logs could see $100-200 more per thousand depending on what you’ve got.
Chips haven’t been exciting in the recent past, but conifer chips are up from last quarter at double what I usually report. You can find chip prices in the $50/ton range at the time of this report. Looks like supply has finally started to decrease as most of the material from past ices storms and fires is no longer viable.
The white woods (spruce, hemlock, grand and white fir) are getting more and more difficult to sell. Much of this wood made its way to China, but that market is weak right now. If you can find a buyer in the Eugene area prices are around $500/mbf. Demand in Douglas County is a bit better and prices are a little bit higher at $550/mbf.
Alder still has some respectable prices, but many of the mills have been taking some downtime recently. Prices don’t seem to be fluctuating too much for alder. Larger alder logs are in the $650 range for the 12-inchers and the $600 for the 10-11-inchers.
Redcedar prices are steady from last quarter and are at $1200/mbf in the Eugene area. Incense-cedar in the Eugene area has been less interesting than in the past, but prices are holding here too at $600/mbf with usually about a $100/mbf more in the Douglas County area.
Poles are also in high demand and prices are strong if you got ‘em. Pole buyers are always willing to walk around the property with you to check things out. Doulas-fir poles 35 – 60 feet long are fetching $1200/bf and if you have taller trees, the 65 – 80 footers are $1300/mbf.
The export markets have been bustling recently, offering $1100/mbf. Remember to configure in trucking to the ports. If you are too far, those prices might not be worth it. And you’ll have to act fast because the export market keeps a watchful eye on the domestic market and as our prices lower, so will theirs.
Around Christmas time it’s the non-timber forest products game that’s the buzz. Most other products are on hold now but will likely start up again now that the holiday season is over.
Prices aren’t too shabby. I wish I could tell you what to expect in my crystal ball, but the recent market trends just haven’t been playing out how they used to. Normally you would expect prices to be on their way up, but with interest rates as they are, lumber prices are declining which means likely so are log prices. But who really knows what the market will do? Prices seem to be up, down, and all around all times of the year. Makes it hard to plan!
With things all topsy turvy the best piece of advice I have for you is...Don’t Be shy! If your management plan is suggesting it is time to sell wood, make it a point to call the log buyers frequently so that you can stay on top of these frequent changes, Good luck, and always remember to get your purchase order before you cut!