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Dr. Michael Blazier Dean of College of Forestry, Agriculture & Natural ResourcesPhone: +1 8704601152Email: Blazier@uamont.edu
Dr. Vic FordAssociate Director -Ag and Natural Resources Phone: 501-671-2001Email: email@example.com
Have you thought about how to market your timber? Whether a landowner is managing
a pine stand to produce an income or managing for some other purpose, for biological
reasons it will become necessary to thin the stand at some point.
If the stand is held to produce an income, it will be necessary to harvest it at some
point to recover costs and collect the profit. Both of these events offer an opportunity
for the landowner to generate an income from the stand. Maximizing the income from
the thinning or harvest requires careful planning.
What forest product can be milled from this tree? Pulpwood? Sawtimber? Utility poles?
Veneers? Flooring? Each of these product classes has its own value and must go to
a mill specific to that product. Access to those mills, those markets, will impact
the stumpage value of your timber.
The Cooperative Extension Service has a fact sheet called What Should I Know About Selling My Timber? that explains some of the basics of selling timber.
First, it is necessary for the landowner to determine the volume (or weight these
days) and value of the timber to be sold. Two decades ago, most pine timber was sold
by volume, and you will often still hear volume mentioned; but the reality is that
pine timber is now sold mainly by weight. A professional forester, or skilled landowner,
will divide the trees to be sold into product classes based on the specifications
for the trees going to each product class. The value of each product class can then
be estimated separately as outlined below.
The fact sheet Landowner's Guide to Determining Weight and Value of Standing Pine Trees explains how weight and value of pine trees are estimated. A similar fact sheet for
hardwoods is also available.
Trusting one buyer's estimate of the weight and value of your timber is not a good
Not all buyers sell to the same mills or have the same skills at maximizing the value
of the timber they harvest. Some buyers may already have enough work and may underestimate
the weight and value your timber compared to someone who needs another timber purchase
to complete his work schedule for the next year.
Once you have an estimate of the volume (or weight) of timber to be sold in each product
class, you will need to estimate the value of the timber, if your consulting forester
hasn't done that for you already.
An estimate of the total value will start with a value per ton for the timber in each
product class you will be selling. Note that the value will be different for each
product class. For purposes of selling timber in Arkansas, the many species found
in a forest are usually lumped as pine, oak, or mixed hardwoods. The fact sheet Timber Price Reporting: How Do I Get a Report and What Does It Mean? explains how to determine the average unit value of timber in your area.
The price reports referenced in the fact sheet are available from the Cooperative
Extension Service on this web page (Timber Price Reports). Be aware that the latest prices reported in these guides are for the previous quarter.
They probably do not accurately reflect current timber prices, but they are the most
current reports available.
Dealing with only a single buyer is not the most effective strategy for getting the
best price for your pine timber. If you already have a good relationship with a buyer
you trust, you may do well dealing with that one buyer. However, most landowners rarely
sell timber and don't have a long term relationship with a buyer. This is another
area where a consulting forester can be useful to you. Your consulting forester will
have a list of buyers in your area and will know which buyers deal with the products
you are trying to sell. This is especially true with products such as utility poles
and hardwood flooring.
A lump sum sale strategy with payment due at the time the bid is accepted provides
two advantages to the landowner. First, the landowner doesn't have to figure out the
weights and values of the various forest products involved in the sale. Each bidder
will make his own estimate at the time the bid is calculated. Second, some of the
risk is shifted from the landowner to the timber buyer. This is appropriate because
landowners usually have little understanding of the risks involved in selling timber
and don't know how to mitigate those risks. Timber buyers, on the other hand, understand
the risks and know how to manage them.
Of course, one important aspect of marketing your timber is to use contracts when
you buy services such as timber cruising or timber marking and when you sell timber.
The fact sheet Forestry Contracts explains why and how to use contracts in timber marketing.
That's a brief overview of timber marketing. Timber marketing, like any marketing,
is a skill best learned through experience. Most landowners sell timber once or twice
in a lifetime and have little opportunity to develop the necessary skills. A consulting
forester can provide the skills necessary to conduct a profitable and safe timber
If you have questions about how to conduct a timber sale or get help from a consulting
forester with your timber sale, contact your county extension agent or Arkansas Forestry Commission county office for additional information. If you'd like to talk to someone about
marketing forest products, please contact your county Extension agent.
This fact sheet explains how to find and hire a consulting forester.
This fact sheet explains why and how to use contracts when selling timber or hiring
This fact sheet explains how to determine the value of your timber.
This fact sheet explains how and where to get a timber price report for your area.
This fact sheet explains how to secure your timber from theft.
This fact sheet explains how to conduct your own timber sale.