Wood pricing shows strain from 2020 disruption

Many species have been hit hard, but others like pine have shown resiliency

MADISON, Wis. -- Amidst a pandemic that shrunk mill capacity, government limits on businesses and manufacturing throughout the world and international trade tensions, index prices of logs and cordwood off of Wisconsin forests suffered statewide in the second quarter of the year. Some prices were also impacted by the continued flow of salvage wood from last year’s summer storms.

With the notable exception of pine sawlogs and cordwood, many major species groups throughout Wiscoonsin were hit hard, as can be seen in the below summary of prices from so far in 2020.

However, the pricing impacted regions throughout the state in markedly different fashion. Some species’ hardwood sawlog index prices differed dramatically between regions. Oak prices showed a particularly broad spread between regions (75%). Maple prices were much less spread geographically.

Pine was the big winner statewide for both sawlogs and cordwood with sawlog index prices up 18% from last year. Pine index prices were good statewide, but still varied greatly geographically.

The two regions furthest north in the state (Northern Lakes and Northwest Territories) showed the most consistent declines among the species, probably because of the lingering impact of a wood overhang from the massive devastation of last summer’s wind storms that flooded the market with wood. The Wisconsin River region showed good pricing in cordwood.

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Pricing comparison 2020 vs. 5-year rolling average (Forest Data Network pricing)

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