Michigan timber prices take hit during disruptive 2020

FDN prices showed some bright spots, such as the demand for logs used in utility poles

MADISON, Wis. -- The effects of a pandemic and a national economic slowdown were clearly evident in Michigan sawlog prices in the third quarter of 2020, with all primary species prices except cherry and ash down by double digit percentages from the prior year, according to Forest Data Network pricing.

Index prices for ash increased by 10% and cherry prices increased by 9%.

Some subspecies were also strong -- notably white oak. White oak sawlog index prices increased 30% from 2019 and more doubled from 2018.

But red oak prices were down about 25% from last year and both red maple and

sugar maple stumpage prices dropped by 14%, according to reported transactions.

Red pine prices showed little weakness as reports came in of strong demand for these logs for utility poles in the wake of hurricane Laura and massive fires in California, Colorado and Oregon.

(To analyze the four-year trend for all species in your MIchigan region, go to a regional report availability here.)

Meanwhile, cordwood prices were down broadly for the quarter. Many of the higher volume species like aspen, pine and mixed hardwood showed single digit drops in prices per cord. A few lower volume species like birch, cherry and tamarack pulpwood were stronger.

Prices varied widely between different regions. Generally prices were higher in the Upper Peninsula regions. Within the U.P. prices in the west were generally higher than in the eastern regions, although maple sawlog prices proved an exception to that.

Some prices varied especially dramatically. Maple sawlogs sold for regional average prices as high as $274.94 to a low price more than 50% below that.

Oak prices also varied dramatically based in part on the proportion of white oak that was harvested and the price realized for that sub-species. The highest prices were in the North Shore region (lower peninsula).

The most consistent prices were for aspen pulpwood where the average hovered around $30 per cord. Pine cordwood prices varied by more than 25% between regions.

Prices in the U.P. regions and the North Shore region of the lower peninsula were stronger than from southern Michigan harvests.

(For detailed regional index pricing for sub-species of maple, oak and pine to regional reports here.)

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