2021 closed with strong sawlog pricing in the Lake States

Cordwood pricing generally remained weak

MADISON, Wis. – Sawlog prices continued their pricing recovery in the Lake States during the 4th Quarter of 2021 as prices of most species further rebounded from 2020 lows that were affected by slowing demand for timber after the pandemic hit the U.S. and global economies.

The rebound was most apparent in Minnesota where sawlog index prices increased for all species except hemlock.

Maple sawlog index prices were very strong in Minnesota, almost doubling from 2020 and reaching a six-year high. Maple prices overall were driven by sugar maple that more than tripled from 2020, returning to prices more in the norm.

Cordwood index prices were a different story, with prices generally holding steady but showing little in the way of increases in Michigan and Minnesota.

You can purchase Minnesota Index Pricing reports here.

Black walnut continued strong in 2021

There was strong interest in black walnut sawlogs in the Lake States in 2021. This was reflected in calls and emails to Forest Data Network, and also in strong pricing in six regions of Southern Wisconsin and one region in Southeast Minnesota near the Mississippi River.

Five of these seven regions recorded index pricing for black walnut sawlogs over $2,000/mbf and logs in the Driftless North region drew a price slightly below $2,000/mbf, but at a five year high.

The Wisconsin regions with black walnut sales were:

  • * Black River region

  • * Capital region

  • *Driftless North region

  • * Milwaukee region

  • * Mississippi region

  • * Winnebago region

In Minnesota, black walnut sales were reported in the

  • * Southern region

Forest Data Network pricing reports for these regions are available here

Hardwood cordwood species index prices were generally steady throughout Michigan, although Aspen prices hit a 7-year-low in the state. Pine, softwood and spruce also dipped statewide, but varied regionally. Red pine and white pine index prices were strong in the Western Upper peninsula for both sawlogs and pulpwood.

You can subscribe to an annual Michigan regional and statewide index pricing reports here.

Meanwhile, cordwood demand continued to be weak in Wisconsin, where paper mill closures and other economic factors reduced demand. Aspen index prices for cordwood dropped to an 8-year-low, while sinking $0.26 per cord from already weak 2020 prices. Fir cordwood showed similar long-term weakness in Wisconsin, sinking to a 10-year low index price.

However, Wisconsin sawlog pricing continued its steady rise from the drop in 2020. Maple index prices hit a three year high driven by slight increases in both soft and sugar maple logs.

Black walnut, often the most valuable of species, was again a big winner for landowners, particularly in Wisconsin. There were sawlog sales in seven Wisconsin regions with the high index price of $4,691.42/mbf being recorded in the Milwaukee region and several other regions recording prices over $2,000/mbf. (The Milwaukee region is comprised of the nine counties in Southeastern Wisconsin.)

Forest Data Network compiles pricing data from numerous sources across Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin on a quarterly basis. The pricing index tracks sales that have been completed.

Regional pricing for black walnut and other Wisconsin timber prices are here.

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