Timber prices
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
deerhunter72 22-Sep-17
CAS_HNTR 23-Sep-17
DaleT 23-Sep-17
Shawn 23-Sep-17
deerhunter72 23-Sep-17
Genesis 23-Sep-17
sportoutfitter 23-Sep-17
deerhunter72 23-Sep-17
Rob in VT 23-Sep-17
skookumjt 23-Sep-17
Elkhorn 24-Sep-17
BigOzzie 24-Sep-17
WV Mountaineer 24-Sep-17
deerhunter72 24-Sep-17
skookumjt 24-Sep-17
WV Mountaineer 24-Sep-17
Trial153 24-Sep-17
deerhunter72 24-Sep-17
scndwfstlhntng 24-Sep-17
zeke 24-Sep-17
BigOzzie 26-Sep-17
Pat Lefemine 26-Sep-17
deerhunter72 26-Sep-17
gobbler 26-Sep-17
WV Mountaineer 26-Sep-17
deerhunter72 26-Sep-17
Twanger 26-Sep-17
BigOzzie 26-Sep-17
Thumper-tx 26-Sep-17
wildwilderness 26-Sep-17
kylet 26-Sep-17
deerhunter72 26-Sep-17
From: deerhunter72
22-Sep-17
I'm thinking about buying a small 20 acre tract of property from my in-laws. It's all woods and I know that it hasn't been timbered for at least 40 years. If I buy it, I'm thinking about having it timbered to help offset the cost of the property. Anyone have any round about ideas on what timbering might bring per acre? I'm in Southern Illinois. Thanks

From: CAS_HNTR
23-Sep-17
Too many variables.......hire a forester

From: DaleT
23-Sep-17
I talked to a couple of local timber companies regarding my 19 acres in PA. They had a 50 tree minimum & were suspose to call me back when they could look the property over. I guess they had little interest as they never called and I lost interest as the money wasn't worth the hassle; I think they ball-parked it at $200 - $250 per mature oak tree. One company owner said it would "look like a bomb went off" when they finished. All the tree tops would be left - those could be cut for fire wood. I think some state universities have foresters that will advise you.

From: Shawn
23-Sep-17
Mixed hardwoods, bringing in around 6000 board ft. will bring roughly 1800 dollars an acre. You can also make money from selling the tops and whats left for firewood. I looked this up on-line. It will vary a bit but seems pretty close. If it is sold for veneers and such it may bring more. Shawn

From: deerhunter72
23-Sep-17
I actually know a forester, but he lives in Nashville,TN. If this goes thru, I would try to get him up here to look it over.

From: Genesis
23-Sep-17
Do you have neighbors under timber management as well? Sometimes small parcels will need to co-op with neighbors plans to cut in order to get a timber company's interest.

Just another of the many variables CAS_HNTR alluded to.

23-Sep-17
I'm doing the same thing on about 400 acres, Greg. I've been told to get several bids, as some can vary quite a bit. I've got some people looking at mine next week. Probably varies from WV to IL but I'll let you know what I find out.

From: deerhunter72
23-Sep-17
Thanks Jeff! I'd appreciate that. I know that there is a timber man in my area who worked for some friends of mine last year. I hoping hoping to see one of those friends at a 3D shoot I went to this morning, but he didn't show. I'll pick his brain next time I run into him.

From: Rob in VT
23-Sep-17
We logged a 76 acre track I have about 15 years ago. It was mainly softwood; fir, spruce, white pines with some maple mixed in. We had it selectively cut using a forester to mark which trees should go. In the end we got $12k for the timber. Can't remember how many board feet that was, but there was also fire wood involved as well.

From: skookumjt
23-Sep-17
The decision to do a timber harvest should never be based on income. It should be based on the benefits it will provide towards your long term goals. Way too many variables to get any valid advice on a forum. Hire a forester with local ties that will represent you, not the loggers or mills.

From: Elkhorn
24-Sep-17
Income can have an effect on long term goals.

From: BigOzzie
24-Sep-17
too many variable was the right call. usually bids come in per 1000 board ft. and then you estimate board foot per acre, tough to do from a descriptions. I just sold a load of lodgepole for 375.00 per 1000 bf, about 5000 bf per truck load, and about 375.00 to trucker, so 1500.00 for a truck load in my pocket. That is felling, and skidding myself, so if you hire a logger to do that, umm not alot of income. You also have to check close if you borrow money to buy the acreage, often there are stipulations on timber value when you owe money on property.

oz

24-Sep-17
Each timber tract has a value based on species, volume, the logging cost, and the road work costs associated with getting it to the mill. No one can ball park a true value from a computer screen.

In order for a harvest, you need suitable volume. Enough volume that the logger can move in and work a bit. Because it takes him a good bit of money to move equipment to your timber. And, you need your timber to be accessible. Being only 20 acres, if there are any substantial road work costs associated with harvesting the timber, the amount you get offered is going to be very limited.

Take what you hear on the internet as exactly what it is. A lot of second hand, inexperienced people giving you advice if you aren't careful. Not every one is off base and, I could name them all by just reading their post. However, one example of something that doesn't make sense is, $250 for the landowners share for each mature oak is beyond good. Eastern forests contain roughly 50 stems per acre in a mature deciduous forest, 30%-40$ of it in PA is going to be oaks. So, he was looking at making a minimum of $3750-$5000/acre just for his oak timber. That is unheard of for oak. That is unheard of for any timber. No way he was looking at making that much. If that were the case, there'd be a lot of instant millionaires. So, get as many offers as you can and, get a forester involved. For me that would be a industry guys because I wouldn't want to give anyone a minimum of 10% of my money for harvesting just 20 acres.

In Illinois, you are likely dealing with more ash and a little different species composition than what we deal with here. So, get some professional's involved. Good luck and God Bless

From: deerhunter72
24-Sep-17
Thanks to everyone for the input. I understand that there are way to many variables involved, but I thought I might be able to get a round about per acre figure.

Skook, I understand what you are saying but income figures into this for me. This situation has taken us by surprise, so this would be an unplanned purchase. My in-laws have owned this property for 40 years, but have suddenly decided to sell. Our short and long term goals are the same= stay debt free. That said, I would have to in some fashion borrow the majority of the money to buy this property, so if logging it would help pay for a significant portion of the cost then I would probably have it done.

From: skookumjt
24-Sep-17
I have seen dozens of people buy land and have it logged with $$ in mind rather than the end result and end up with property that was worthless for recreation and for resale.

Logging can be the greatest thing for the property and give you income, but generally it is a fraction of the carrying cost of the land.

24-Sep-17
^^^^^^This x 10^^^^^^^^^^^

From: Trial153
24-Sep-17
Get a professional forrester to give you an estimate and his opinion of the fesiablity of the project, it's well worth the expense.

From: deerhunter72
24-Sep-17
Skook, point taken. Thanks for the advice everyone.

24-Sep-17
I just went through this with our 180 acre place in Vermont. I sadly listened for the first two hours about the depressed value of wood and wood pulp. All said and done, logging out the parts that are now mature on the 10 plan, we would probably net $11,000 which aient that much towards taxes every ten years.

From: zeke
24-Sep-17
If you do get a professional forester, and I suggest you do, also get him to write you a management plan for the property. In Illinois if the property is more than 50% forested and has no management plan it is taxed as recreational land. With a plan the tax rate is about half what it is as recreational. The cost for the plan can be cost shared through the county foresters office.

From: BigOzzie
26-Sep-17
The management plan is a big deal, when applying for grants, firewise or whatever you are almost a shoe in given you have a management plan. I have found that step very helpful.

oz

From: Pat Lefemine
26-Sep-17
I know nothing about timber harvest but I've been told I'm sitting on a nice payout on my 310 acres. I've got 150 acres that's 8-10 years of maturity. Mostly maple and cherry with a little bit of ash and popple. Decent road access as well. I get hounded by the timber guys every year.

From: deerhunter72
26-Sep-17
I've had the chance to talk to some neighbors who have had timbered in the last few years. They did get decent prices, but the mess that's left can be significant to terrible. The payout on 310 acres would be pretty tempting.

From: gobbler
26-Sep-17
In my opinion a lot depends on what you want to do with property and long term plan. Logging approach would be different if you plan to use it to provide quality hunting property or if you just want to make money off of it. Quality hunting would include not cutting your best producing oak trees which would definatatly affect the amount of money you would get. You had said it hadn't been timbered in 40 years. During that time period some oak species may just be approaching peak production of acorns while species like yellow popular may be ripe for timbering. Also you need to determine amount of white ash. The emerald ash borer is killing a lot of ash trees in many areas. If you have a lot of ash you might be able to get those cut before they end up dying anyway. Plus there's many types of cuts. Clear cuts, selective cuts of species or a certain size minimum, usually 16-18 inches, shelterwood cuts.

Again, depending what your wish for the final outcome to be you should meet with forester. If your wish is for hunting land meet with state biologist as well, preferably at the same time as the forester. If they feel it is enough timber to be economically feasible then you should get at least 3 bids for the timber from 3 different loggers.

26-Sep-17
If there are pulpwood markets available, there should be no significant mess. God Bless

From: deerhunter72
26-Sep-17
I've had the chance to talk to some neighbors who have had timbered in the last few years. They did get decent prices, but the mess that's left can be significant to terrible. The payout on 310 acres would be pretty tempting.

From: Twanger
26-Sep-17
deerhunter72, We have been cutting timber on our properties since 1997. IMO it is a great way to improve the deer hunting by providing more cover and food while generating some income. In our case we probably cut too lightly because we want to leave a good stand of timber for future revenue. Even when doing it that way we still improve the hunting. For the first 3 years or so the hunting is not very good because the thinning has made the timber to open to hid a tree stand and to promote bedding or travel. After that the hunting is much improved for maybe the next 10 years or so depending on how it is cut. I think that the best way is to determine what you want to leave and then cut the rest. Leave some mast producing trees and some good trees for stands. If you want future revenue leave any good quality timber trees that do not need to be cut to allow future growth. The county forester may help with that. Mark individual trees that you want to be cut and get bids. Do not leave the selection up to the logger. Take poor quality tree that do not contribute to wildlife first if there is a market for them and girdle them if there is not a market. Remove some of the mature trees as they may not help hunting much and make poor stand trees.

What is a mess is a relative thing. I expect the ground to be rutted up and the tops to make it look like a mess. To me that is a good thing and it promotes new growth and provides cover. I do not sell the tops unless there is a good market for them. I want the tops to make a mess. Make sure that the logger does not damage the residual trees by running into them or by scraping the bark off skidding logs. Logging roads should be graded by the logging before they leave and seeded. Within 3-5 years the area will look great despite the "mess".

If the timber is not ready to be cut wait until it is. After 40 years it probably is but have someone who knows look at it. Once timber gets to a certain size it starts to put on value quickly and it is a shame to cut it if it will increase in value quickly. If you buy the land take the time to research things before doing something that is irreversible.

From: BigOzzie
26-Sep-17
Pat the management plan referred to is a fun thing to do, you would get alot out of it and enjoy the process. I'm no expert, but I have been logging my 700 acres at a rate of one or two loads of logs a year, which is less than the new growth so basically going backwards. Anyways this year I took a sustainable forests course from Montana state university. the course was 3 days 8 hours each of lecture, and a forester visit to your land. I learned a great deal about trees, land, wildlife, and goals for my land. In the end you list goals and write a forest management plan for your property. It helped me balance between making a little money off of timber, and optimizing wildlife habitat. I did learn that most of my land is too thick for good tree growth, and therefore not producing good browse for wildlife, and that I cannot log it fast enough myself to improve that much. In my situation, keeping some thick timber for bedding is not necessary due to the sheer amount of public land around me, they can hide close by. Therefore I am better off to log heavier and make more openings for browse and better timber growth.

It was a good experience I recommend it for anyone who has land they want to manage for the long term.

oz

From: Thumper-tx
26-Sep-17
I thin timber on parts of my land every three-four years and have done so for over 30 years. Get a forester!!! He will bid it out to 5-10 loggers and will write the contract. That is critical!!! On 20 acres, if you cut enough to make any measurable amount of money, the place will look it had a B52 air strike on it for some years. Also, many larger "good" loggers will not bother with 20 acres because the expense of moving equipment in and out will eat up what they make. Be VERY cautious with small logging operations. There are some good ones but they are the exception in my experience. I don't know about your area but log/ton prices in the south peaked in the 90's and are still about 30% below those numbers.

Bottom line, on 20acres, I would not do it at all possible.

26-Sep-17
The question I have is - Why do you want to buy this property?

If money is an issue then putting it into non-income generating real estate doesn't seem like the best idea. The in-laws selling it seems like it is a money pit (taxes, maintenance, etc) So unless you have disposable income to spend and a strong desire for this property sounds like a pass...

From: kylet
26-Sep-17
It would be tough to practice any kind of sustainable forestry on 20 acres and make any money. Unless it's full of walnut. We've had a log buyer put 7k on one 10ft walnut log. But that is not the norm. As others have stated, reach out to your local foresters.

From: deerhunter72
26-Sep-17
Wildwilderness-you sound just like my wife:) The only reason I wanted the property was to keep it as an option to hunt, which my wife says is not a good enough reason and financially she's right. 20 acres of woods probably doesn't sound like enough to bother with to a lot of people on bowsite, but most everything here is tillable farm ground or pasture. I've hunted for 30 years and it's the biggest continuous woods I've had to hunt in. At any rate, we decided yesterday to pass on the property. I have two kids quickly approaching college and that's where my financial obligation lies. Thanks to everyone for their input.

BTW, the place is far from a money pit. My wife put a post of the land and my in-laws attached home place on FB last night and they sold the whole place today. They had been willing to split the woods off and sell separately if we wanted to.

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