Wood prices continue climb out of pandemic disruptions

Pulp prices in the Lake States continue to struggle

MADISON, Wis. -- A healthy upturn in sawlog prices continued across the Lake States in the third quarter of 2021, rebounding after 2020’s downturn in the face of the pandemic. The prices reflected strong housing growth and rising U.S. economic activity.

Most hardwood index prices, as compiled by Forest Data Network, were up by double digits for major species for the quarter in all three states.

But Michigan prices for hardwood standing timber showed the most growth. For instance, the prices for maple subspecies increased in more than half of the state’s regions and didn’t fall measurably in any of the other regions.

Oak sawlog index prices increased in Michigan and quite strongly in Wisconsin (33%), but remained flat in Minnesota.

Most of the increases returned prices to normalized levels after a severe drop in 2020 as some mills closed in the pandemic and decreased demand.

Prices in your region in Michigan, Minnesota or Wisconsin can be found here.

Some more specialized wood species showed dramatic increases in demand for stumpage.

For instance, cherry showed robust pricing in Michigan and Wisconsin (reaching a 7 year high in Michigan and a 10 year high in Wisconsin). And birch prices boomed in northern Wisconsin reaching a 10-year high of $270/mbf.

In contrast, cordwood prices generally remained flat in all three states, at a low level that arrived in 2020 with the Covid pandemic and a slowdown in paper demand. However pine pulpwood pricing was reasonably strong, particularly in Wisconsin. It was the beneficiary of strong U.S. homebuilding and demand for construction products.

FDN index prices report harvest transactions that have been completed so they do not reflect cases where sellers decided offered prices didn’t reach their expectations because of softer markets, such as what has been reported in many pulp markets since last year.

To find stumpage pricing information for your state or region, check here.

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