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post #1 of 27 Old 01-30-2010, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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Wisconsin Timber Prices

I am a bit frustrated with purchasing logs. WI is horrible to find timber prices that are current. I have used the IL forestry blog as a rough guide but have found that people are asking way more for there logs here in SE WI than people are paying in northern and central IL. Am i just finding greedy people who are selling logs? Maybe they are trying to relive the good ol days when the housing market was all grand? any suggestions would be awesome. i am a cheap SOB so if i am just being cheap and i should poney up the the dough let me know.

here are some prices i have been quoted:

red oak .60/bf
white oak .60/bf
white pine .50/bf
walnut 1.00/bf
cherry .75 and 1.50/bf

every one seems to think they have veneer and grade 1 logs also. i have been studying log grading (not any expert by any means) based on what i have read the logs i have seen are decent with very few knots and defects. how much should i take this into consideration?

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post #2 of 27 Old 01-30-2010, 12:46 PM
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You need to look for more sellers. Contact your DNR they would have the current market prices for sawlogs and sellers. The white oak price is pretty close...the rest are 2X. Yea everyone thinks they have veneer, nothing new there. The first log (butt log) if it is clear is the most valuable and on mixed loads you have to average the very good with the not so good. Right now I am paying, DELIVERED:
red oak .25 (if I have to buy, most are free)
white oak .50/bf
white pine don't buy
walnut .50/bf
cherry .40-.50/bf depending on how clear.

Most logs are going to the pallet mills, they are paying .20-.30 for just about any hardwood that comes across the scale. I won't pay that for stuff like hickory for example.
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post #3 of 27 Old 01-30-2010, 08:47 PM
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log prices

Your right about people wanting the same money for logs as when building was booming, I was told last week by my buyer is paying .50 on #1 R. oak, .40 on #1 white oak, .60 on #1 cherry logs,and walnut veener logs the sky the limit with some buyers not very picky about quality. Due like i did when i first got my mill the log sources dried up, so I went out and bought a skidder and started logging my own private timber sales. Hope it works out for you. Mike
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post #4 of 27 Old 01-31-2010, 03:58 AM
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I'll trade you some Douglas Fir for any of those woods.

DF is going for $1.50/bf off the mill. Planing and edging is extra.
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post #5 of 27 Old 01-31-2010, 11:57 AM
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I think one reason veneer Walnut is so high is because bird peck is so prevalent. At least that's the reason for it here. I contacted a buyer a couple years ago to come look at some nice veneer walnut, and he wouldn't even come, saying "All the Walnut in your region has bird peck." I said "well I sure don't see any" and he said "you would if you put it on a rotary slicer."

I figured okay, what the heck do I know about it maybe he's right. Even if it's not visible now, at some point in the log there is bird peck (?) and they don't want to risk buying it. I felled them of course and sawed them up. If there was any peck in them I couldn't see it. I figure I turned about $80K worth of veneer Walnut into ~ $5000.

AFA the other prices those sure are high for here. But I don't buy logs by the BF I buy by the ton . . . when I pay for them. I usually get them free, but I do have to log them myself so free is never really free. At one point several years ago, I was buying cedar logs delivered for 0.15 BF . . . thems thar wuz the good 'ol days. That logger moved to Oregon though.

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post #6 of 27 Old 01-31-2010, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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I have a local DNR office close to my house. The forester there said she didn't know of any current market pricing that wisconsin keeps. She recommended that I contact and independant forester off their website. I contacted a forester I found on the DNR website he said that he only deals with larger plots of timber and couldn't help me. I have found the loggers of northern WI very helpful and their prices are in line with what you guys are telling me. the delema I have is that the closest ones are 2+ hrs away. These guys are even glad to transport the logs to me (for a fee).

Anybody in SE wi that could help point me in the right direction?

Thanks for all the feedback so far.

For those of you that have been in my shoes was it this difficult in the beginning? More specificly I guess the thing the urks me is when someone calls for something and I can't get it to them right away. Then when I have it the need has been filled elsewhere.

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post #7 of 27 Old 01-31-2010, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by greg4269ub View Post
For those of you that have been in my shoes was it this difficult in the beginning?
Yes. I don't buy from loggers, never have. But when I have inquired (in a pinch for a certain species) They want to sell 3500-5000 bft a load...or not even piss with you. When I first got my mill I was flooded with logs, of all species...Then when I gained more experience in the biz and narrowed down a shorter list of what I wanted to mill/dry/sell it got harder. It takes constant networking, getting my name out, meeting new sources even 6+ years later. You have to keep beating the bushes, no pun intended.
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post #8 of 27 Old 01-31-2010, 08:42 PM
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Greg yes it was difficult in the begining and still is, im not far from you, whitewater.I started sawing and selling lumber 11 years ago, the past 3 have been bad. I can tell you 1st hand as im a logger by trade, if you buy a load of logs you wont get the cream (veneer) and you cant make any money with a small mill cutting #2 and 3 logs i tried, my 1st try I bought a timber sale that was 17000 BDFT mixed timber from ash to walnut, sawed every log on my norwood mill and dried it in my ebac800, you need a good market for low grade lumber because even #1 logs will give you low grade lumber. If you can work something out with a tree service you can kinda pick and choose what you buy, from a logger like myself we need to sell the whole tree, than you get about a third each #1 #2 #3 grade lumber per tree. I hope this is helpful Mike
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post #9 of 27 Old 01-31-2010, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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mike, do you just log in WI? when you sell/buy how do you know if you are at, below, or above the market price. i can't find any regional prices for SE WI. there is a guy about 1/2 hr from me who is asking .60/ bf for oak #1 Is that normal for our area of the state? i have several tree services that have oak but they are doing what Daren said, 3000-5000 bf or they don't want to waste their time. i will to keep at it things will fall into place eventually. any light you could shed on WI price trends would be awesome!!

thanks

Greg

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post #10 of 27 Old 01-31-2010, 11:39 PM
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Greg,

Although I'm way down here in Texas, I hear you loud and clear. I know you are wanting to tap into your local knowledge base and you should, but don't just rest on that. What you should strive to do, even more than just learning your local market, is to become a more effective negotiator. Not just with loggers, but with land owners.

Learn how to bypass the professional loggers, at least for most of your logs, and you will cut your costs substantially.
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post #11 of 27 Old 02-01-2010, 08:36 AM
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Greg yes I log wisconsin only, try to stay withen 50 miles from home. To me I would rather pay .60 for good #1 red oak logs than .30 for log run (the whole tree). The guys i sell lumber to tend to pick around any boards with knots or other defects even at half the price of a clear board. As for prices, call a few larger sawmills (as a logger that has logs for sale) they will be happy to tell you what there paying. Greg theres a logger by the name of Jay Nelson and i think he lives in west bend, he does contract cutting for the same company I due some cutting for, maybe look him up and see if he can help you with some logs.(just a tip) When buying red oak though stay away from the black oak which is in the red oak family, but is extremlly knotty. Hope this is helpful Mike
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post #12 of 27 Old 02-01-2010, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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you guys are full of awesome knowledge!!! thanks for all the insight. i have been working with home/land owners a bit (doing so has been great except logs come randomly)

Kevin- i like to think of myself as a good negotiator (been in sales 10+ yrs) but there is nothing like developing strategies for a specific industry. anything you could offer would be welcome with open ears.

Mike- thanks for all the local info that is what i was looking for. i will look up the gentleman you referred me to. have you heard of kettle moraine hardwoods or Hanson and leja? they are the only 2 larger local mills i can find in SE WI. km hardwoods is asking for free logs from tree services i even got to the owner and no one would give up what they were paying for logs. at Hanson and leja i couldn't get any of their buyers to call me back. is there a way i should approach these places so they will give me their buying price?

thanks again to all who have helped with this gotta run for now I'll check back later

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post #13 of 27 Old 02-01-2010, 04:18 PM
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Kevin- i like to think of myself as a good negotiator (been in sales 10+ yrs) but there is nothing like developing strategies for a specific industry. anything you could offer would be welcome with open ears.
Greg I did a bad job there. It does sound like I might've been inferring you're not a good negotiator but that's not what I meant. What I was trying to say is, you might consider not even negotiating with professional loggers at all if they aren't budging, and instead start negotiating with landowners or even the part-timer firewood cutters. So working on your "strategy" is the word I should've used.

Around here it's pretty easy for me to negotiate with a land owner to remove some trees for just hauling them off, and sometimes getting them to do the felling and limbing even. But this is cattle country and maybe it's not easy for you to do that. The firewood cutters though, again, at least around here, I can almost always get a big saw log, or several from them on the cheap if not free, but they usually do want a little dough for them.

I developed the audacity early on to ask for trees without offering payment. I did this because I would let the owner know I was interested in finding trees that were not wanted or that the owner need cleared for just the cost of letting me have the saw logs. I would be specific and honest with them saying that since this isn;t really logging country, I could not offer to buy the trees but would be happy to remove a portion of his unwanted ones.

Many times the the owner would tell me I could have all 700 acres if I would doze them down and then laugh. But they were serious because they have to pay a dozer by the hour to push them up and burn them. This is where I really concentrated my negotiating efforts. I would close the 'deal" by saying "Well since you are going to doze them eventually anyway, would it be alright if I dropped a few now to feed my little sawmill?

Long story short, I have over a dozen places now, heck probably two dozen if I just sat and wrote them down, where I can go and get free logs. If I pay for a tree, which I haven't done probably 5 times in as many years (except for a couple of large tracts of primo cedar purchases), it's because the tree/s are spectacular and the owner knows it and I cannot live without them.

So I'm thinking that even though you ARE in logging country, there's still opportunity to get free trees if you locate owners who have tracts they need removed for whatever reason, simply because they know the industry there has been decimated. They aren't getting timber buyers coming through, and you would be shocked at how willing people are to help a guy out when you just shoot straight with them.

Just start looking at timberland with a different eye as you drive by and try and catch the owners out on the property. I tried knocking on a few doors at first but qucikly discovered they are too defensive when they have to come to the door and talk to a stranger about giving them some trees. Find them already on their property though, get them to bragging about their land, and they will let you know if they have trees they could stand to get cleared without you hardly even asking.

All you got to do is let them know "Well I have a little sawmill and trying to make it pay it's own way but having some trouble finding affordable logs. In fact the way the market is, I'm down to trying to find landowners who need some cleared out for no charge . . ." Always start out though by introducing yourself with your full name, and describe in detail where you live so they feel safe.

That's how it is down here anyway. It may not be nearly as easy to operate this way down there but I bet it is possible to a degree. Thought I would throw it out there for you. I wouldn't run this idea past any of your other sawyers or loggers up there because they will say you're crazy, like I was told down here except I didn't let it discourage me.

You got to remember that most sawyers are not willing to do this. The few we've had around here didn't do it, they would try to operate like big time sawyer-timber buyers and they didn't last. Once you get a landowner liking you, many times they will call you and ask you if you need any more trees. Sounds insane probably but it works for me.
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post #14 of 27 Old 02-02-2010, 07:33 AM
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Greg never had much luck dealing with h&l and havent delt with kettle moraine. From what I heard h&l is not buying or sawing this year. Try some mills like algoma-krueger-meister they are larger players in buying timber and logs. Mike
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post #15 of 27 Old 02-02-2010, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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no worries Kevin your ideas are working for me (the ones i have used) the others are great and i can't wait to use them. i am a bit leary of flat out logging trees myself. i only have small equipment at this point. I'm sure when the time is right i will get into it.

i have found several land owners that have contacted me about removing downed trees (CL has been good so far). Some have even offered to help with the process. i have a nice ash tree waiting for my in the spring as well as some others. (got that ash burl this way)

the only specie i haven't gotten extremely cheap or free is R oak. that was my main motivation for posting this thread. requests for oak is 2:1 to others species. being that i can't fill the requests i felt the need to make a purchase of the oak. being new i felt it is to risky spending the little cash flow I get unwisely. thanks a bunch for all the help i feel much better equipped to make wiser purchases when i find myself in a pinch.

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post #16 of 27 Old 02-06-2010, 01:16 AM
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I'm new to this forum, find your discussions interesting. My Dad was a logger so I grew up in the woods, spent my early years doing all the fun stuff like limbing balsam with an axe, skidding with horses, peeling popple (aspen) and hand piling pulp. Dad usually did his hardwood jobs in the winter, and after selling his business, became a log buyer for a Northern Wi. veneer mill. Nowdays, my only logging is cutting my firewood and a couple loads of maple logs once in a while to help offset taxes on my property. I'm also a survival woodworker, build furniture and projects with lumber milled from my back 40. My last two loads of Maple about a month ago only averaged about .40 bf, which was pretty low for the quality of the logs. If I were logging, I would have paid over $200 per mbf in stumpage to the landowner, leaving me only around $200 mbf for expenses and profit. That's only about $90 a cord in Lake States figures....not a lot to play with. I sure don't want to offend anyone, not getting uppity, but I wouldn't begrudge a logger a little profit, sure ain't a lot compared to what the landowners, mills, dry kilns and brokers get for it.
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post #17 of 27 Old 02-06-2010, 01:34 AM
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Welcome to the forum interceptor.
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post #18 of 27 Old 02-06-2010, 08:21 AM
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I'm new to this forum, find your discussions interesting. My Dad was a logger so I grew up in the woods, spent my early years doing all the fun stuff like limbing balsam with an axe, skidding with horses, peeling popple (aspen) and hand piling pulp. Dad usually did his hardwood jobs in the winter, and after selling his business, became a log buyer for a Northern Wi. veneer mill. Nowdays, my only logging is cutting my firewood and a couple loads of maple logs once in a while to help offset taxes on my property. I'm also a survival woodworker, build furniture and projects with lumber milled from my back 40. My last two loads of Maple about a month ago only averaged about .40 bf, which was pretty low for the quality of the logs. If I were logging, I would have paid over $200 per mbf in stumpage to the landowner, leaving me only around $200 mbf for expenses and profit. That's only about $90 a cord in Lake States figures....not a lot to play with. I sure don't want to offend anyone, not getting uppity, but I wouldn't begrudge a logger a little profit, sure ain't a lot compared to what the landowners, mills, dry kilns and brokers get for it.
I hear what your saying, I decided to leave my skidder parked this winter, paying high stumpage a year or 2 ago and the low prices for logs now I dont think it would pay to cut them this winter. Hopefully prices will come around before contracts run out.
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post #19 of 27 Old 02-06-2010, 08:27 AM
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Log prices

Greg I forgot about this paper called sawlog bulletin, it covers wisconsin and other states but it costs. Look it up on the net.
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post #20 of 27 Old 02-06-2010, 09:47 AM
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It's the same on the other end too, sure sawlog prices have dropped...but so have lumber prices/market. In my neck of the woods anyway the bottom has fell out for mill run in the last year-18 months. The obvious reason for log prices being lower than they have been in years. It's not good for any of us in the food chain right now. For a small operation like me it's easier to find a niche to keep the lights on and simply move away from things I can't profit with for right now.

When do you (anyone) see a turn around ? I don't see one in the near future.
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