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Demand for hardwood drives prices higher than pine

By Jim Griffith
Registered Forester #1616

Pine timber is the traditional tree of choice in the South’s timber industry, with the exception of the specific hardwood sawmill. Pine has always been the higher value tree, especially pulpwood products. With the higher prices goes the higher demand.

Currently, pine is no longer king. Hardwood pulpwood is actually demanding a higher price for pulpwood today than is pine. Considerably more in given areas. Even hardwood sawtimber is bringing almost as much as pine sawtimber today.

Georgia has traditionally been a state where the timber industry has placed little value on hardwood trees, but in the current environment we are now seeing a dramatic change. Change that is creating significant value in timber stands that were not worth harvesting in times past.

Hardwood timber stands and bottomland hardwood are attracting a lot of attention from timber buyers and mills all over the state. While pine is on limited quota delivery to the mills, hardwood is keeping logging crews in business. Not only are the crews staying in business, in some cases they are making big bucks.

If you are thinking about selling hardwoods on your property, make certain that you know what the going price is. Because the Georgia timber market has traditionally placed little value on hardwood, it will be tempting for some timber buyers to try to buy hardwoods from unsuspecting owners at the previous low price.The better, more honorable buyers are going to offer you their best price regardless of the market. I know you, as a landowner, want to make as much profit on your investment as possible.

My job is to try and educate you as to what is going on in the market to keep you competitive in your negotiations. Your Georgia Farm Bureau forester is trained in negotiating timber prices for you. In a market like this, you may not want to take a chance with your hardwood stands.

Jim Griffith is general manager of the GFB Timber & Real Estate Companies.

Farm Bureau News – November 2003

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