Back to Normal: Log Prices and Trends

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

I feel like this is the first time, in a long time, that I’m reporting a normal summer. Prices are holding steady and despite the fires there are enough logs out there to keep prices from increasing as we approach the end of the summer. In addition, lumber prices have come down quite a bit so we may even see log prices go down before going back up to match the winter demand due to access issues. There seems to be some mills with lots of inventory and some mills aggressively buying so be sure to call around to find the best fit for your property and your logs. Douglas-fir prices are currently sitting in the $800-850/mbf, about $100/mbf less than what we were seeing this time last year.

The chip market is really suffering these days and many mills are shutting down their fiber lines for the time being. If you can find a buyer, prices have dropped off significantly to $25-30 per ton, $15 – $20 less than last year.

The Hem-fir sorts (spruce, hemlock, grand and white fir) are holding steady from the recent past. These logs are usually bought for Chinese export and that market hasn’t been very exciting recently. That being said, they are holding fairly steady if not slightly improved from my last report. Currently prices are around $650mbf in the Roseburg area and $600mbf if you are in the Eugene area.

The alder market is doing pretty well and big logs with a 12-inch diameter are in the $600mbf range. Unfortunately, it looks like the larger mills in the Eugene area are no longer taking maple. Looks like fiber or smaller/portable mills will be the only option there.

Reports are showing redcedar prices are also holding steady at $1000mbf. Incense-cedar in the Eugene area is looking lower than typical at $400mbf, but Douglas County is seeing more action at around $600mbf..

Buyers are very hungry for poles. Prices continue to be strong as a result of what seems to be their continually increasing demand. Pricing for poles will vary based on the job and type and difficulty, but you can generally expect to be paid about 20% more for a pole than a saw log. So don’t sell yourself short and have a pole buyer check out your stand as you market your trees. At the time of this report, short poles are in the $1000 -$1200mbf range and the long poles are $1150-1350mbf.

If you are in the non-timber forest products game it is time to start thinking about Christmas Greenery, cones, boughs, and Christmas trees.

While prices are looking a little mediocre at the moment there is always a chance the market will change in your favor. IF prices don’t seem right to you at the moment. Dust off your management plan and update your decisions to match both your goals with the market. If you plan to harvest, note that contractors are always in high demand especially these days. Make sure to find your logger early and be a bit flexible. Good luck and always remember to get your purchase order before you cut!

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