Catch a logger if you can: Log and non-timber forest product prices and trends

Lauren Grand, OSU Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Agent, Lane County

We are officially out of the COVID slump. Usually prices are at their peak in April and then drop into July, but things are topsy-turvy again this year. Summer usually offers a plentiful log supply keeping prices the lowest during the year. With many of the mills slowing or even shutting down in the spring they just can get enough cutting done to meet the current demand and prices are up as a result.

Douglas-fir prices are currently sitting in the $750/mbf, $100/mbf higher than historically average prices for the summer. I’ve even heard some whispers of prices in the $800/mbf range. Roseburg’s prices are looking about $50/mbf lower. Rumors are a buzz that prices are likely to stay strong in anticipation of meeting the lumber demands and potential fire season shutdowns if the weather doesn’t break soon.

Usually I don’t have much good to say about chips, and this quarter is no different. Chips are over abundant right now and no one is really actively buying them.  Prices are sitting in the $20/ton range, not good enough to even pay the truck to haul them out on. Poles on the other hand are still strong and slightly up from last quarter. Short poles are looking at $875 and the 60-100 footers are around $1050.

The Hem-fir sorts (spruce, hemlock, grand and white fir) are almost $100 higher than what we reported in February. The long logs are up to $550 per thousand. Roseburg’s prices are ranging from $450 – $600. 

Pine prices in the southwest are holding steady around $400/mbf. Eugene’s pine market is down for the count at the moment and currently there are no local buyers. We’ll let you know if that changes in the future. If you are selling pine, consider your trucking distance. At these prices, if you have to move it too far, you may be losing money instead of making it.

Typically, trends in the Alder market follow Douglas-fir, but more recently have been slowing and flattening out. Unfortunately, production in many mills has slowed down bringing prices down with it. Currently, alder prices are in the $450/MBF range.

Redcedar prices are on the rise from last quarter and are in high demand fetching $1000/mbf, $200/mbf more than our last report. Incense-cedar on the other hand is slightly down. If you are in the Eugene area you are looking at $550/mbf and $600/mbf in Douglas County area. Port-Orford-cedar prices are holding steady in the $475 range.

All I can think about right now is how hot it is, but if you are in the non-timber forest products game it is time to start thinking about Christmas Greenery and getting your contracts set. Cones are particularly in favor at the moment being purchased at $0.08/cone. Buyers are looking for decorative white pine cones. Decorative means solid and open. If you aren’t sure you have the right stuff, bring in a sample to make sure you are on the right track. Oregon grape and cascara season has closed, but usnea lichen is still an interest. Usnea prices have slightly increased to $5.75/lb clean and dry.

Hopefully you listened to my suggestion last quarter to dust off your management plan and start getting your ducks in a row, in preparation for more certain times. Well, we are in more certain times and loggers are going to get scooped up fast. If it makes sense for your management objectives to cut this is a good time, but act fast we never know how long our bubble will last. Good luck and always remember to get your purchase order before you cut!

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