Ponderosa pine sawlog markets have been weak for the past several years. And likely to continue. The closest sawlog market for Valley growers is in the Roseburg area. During last year’s report, we stated that pine was being used as veneer cores and backs and long logs were bringing about $350/MBF westside scale. Today, the end products are pretty much the same, but prices have fallen further to about $300/MBF. At those prices, buyers aren’t interested and are merely stating a price to let sellers know they’re still in the log market. But seeking species other than pine.
Photo by Bob McNitt
Steve Bowers discussing log marketing and scaling with ponderosa pine owners
If you travel further to the Illinois Valley and Medford, prices are a little bit better, but trucking becomes so prohibitive that those markets are virtually a “break-even” enterprise. There has been talk the past year or two about pine shavings used in special products markets, which is occurring at this time. The trouble with this market is the fact it is a niche market, and if a number of growers attempted to enter, available volumes may well eliminate this option of a respective return on your investment. Speaking with buyers, quite likely the best option for pine in the Valley is to sell it to local chipping facilities. At approximately $30/ton, a rough conversion factor shows chip logs being worth approximately in the low $200/MBF range, about $75 less per MBF than sawlog markets in Roseburg. And a seller would be extremely hard-pressed to be able to ship their logs nearly 100 miles for less than $100/MBF: quite likely impossible. And the future: unless large diameters (some say 16”+ while others quote 24”+ logs) either way, growers are looking at a long term investment in hopes of any viable economic recovery.
Last Updated 02/11/12