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Author Topic: Start tree farm  (Read 1861 times)

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Offline Hagwoodhunter

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Start tree farm
« on: February 27, 2017, 12:57:55 PM »
I live in rural arkansas and i'm curious who do i contact about having my 40 acres planted n pine trees? Kinda confused on the whole process but I know i need to make my land work for me. thanks for any help
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Offline TKehl

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Re: Start tree farm
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2017, 01:41:15 PM »
Are you set on Pine or are you open to other means of having the land provide revenue? 

Pecan could be a good choice for starters.

Occasionally a county NRCS or SWCD will have a tree planter for rent.
In the long run, you make your own luck Ė good, bad, or indifferent. Loretta Lynn

Offline timberking

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Re: Start tree farm
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2017, 03:36:35 PM »
Just contact the Forestry Commission.

Offline Hagwoodhunter

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Re: Start tree farm
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2017, 11:50:38 AM »
thats what i did
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Offline timberking

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Re: Start tree farm
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2017, 02:34:18 PM »

Did you find out what you need?

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Start tree farm
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2017, 08:29:26 PM »
There are several ways to get the land "working" for you.  First, you need to understand what programs the local agriculture extension office has available.  Guys there are usually way overworked and paid modestly, I suggest stopping by in person. 

Example programs including converting land to native grasses, planting in trees, wetland buffer and fencing, and on and on.  I live and have worked mostly on the East Coast so I can't say for sure what is available.  They may be able to supply seedlings or funds to offset others doing planting or even cover all the costs in the case of wetland buffer plantings.  I really like the wetland buffer plantings as they also throw in the fencing cost and plant good hardwoods.  The govt funded programs are going to have some "gotchas" such as needing to keep the land in trees for at least 15 years, etc.  Not a big deal if you are planting a tree farm. 

Other groups to turn to might be local conservation groups that might help offset forest establishment costs.  Basically tree planting can be a bit expensive so it is great to get some outside funding to offset that.  However, congress may or may not be adding money to the programs next year.  I'd hurry if I were you. 

The forest service guys are even more over booked, usually know the ag guys very well, and are pretty much just focused on forest.  I hope you have a local office somewhat convenient to you -again faster to stop by rather than leave 10 messages (in my opinion).  Maybe I'm just type A :)

Liking Walnut

Offline Magicman

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Re: Start tree farm
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2017, 08:27:49 AM »
In my area the Pine supply is three times the available market and this imbalance is reflected in the price which is not good.  The landowner gets virtually nothing and loggers are on quotas by the remaining sawmills.

My Pine plantation is 12 years old, needs thinning, and my share will not even pay for the past 12 years of taxes.  :-\ 

In 2010, I planted ~25 acres of various Oak seedlings, but that is a 50+ year project.  I will be a very old man when those trees are harvested.   ::)
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Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Offline timberking

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Re: Start tree farm
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2017, 10:23:26 AM »
Same here Magicman.  Just half stepping with the quota.  First thinning stumpage is about $6 if the mill is under 40 miles.  Unfortunately, the logging force will have to purge itself because the market can't support the output.

Offline Magicman

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Re: Start tree farm
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2017, 01:21:32 PM »
The few sawmills that are left are running full force.  Loggers are working in the rain and mud because if they miss their quota days, they miss that week's work.  They can not take a load the next day because that is someone else's day.

Go and buy toilet tissue and it will leave you wondering who is taking the profit !!!  ??
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Offline Catenaut

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Re: Start tree farm
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2017, 01:51:20 PM »
As to the original question about what to do with 40 acres in rural Arkansas...thats tough. As many people rightly said, the market for pine in most of the Deep South is badly upside down. Although it tends to moderate some as you get into the Carolina's. Arkansas is especially difficult because of the paucity of mills. Pine plantations are generally a losing bet on a small scale - especially if you're paying the costs, because around year 12-14 you'll get trapped by the 1st thinning. Most of the State guys aren't in touch with the market so they're still thinking the forestry practices of 20 years ago will work today (they wont) and with only 40 acres it'll be difficult to justify a consultant's time and the cost of a management plan. I manage a couple hundred acres for my family, and I've been prescribing a "let it go" approach because the mix that comes back from a clearcut generally has a better ROI than active management. If you need the income in your lifetime I would have to second the comment from someone else about pecan trees. You can also do well with hazelnut.

Offline Magicman

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Re: Start tree farm
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2017, 11:09:03 AM »
These are in a tree service guy's yard.
 

 
 

 
Obviously the knotty logs shown above are not saleable, but neither are the others.  If they are over 30", have any sweep, or the butt is not square, they are rejected.  These were culled beforehand and not even hauled to the sawmill.

I will be sawing framing lumber out of the best logs.  The knotty logs are destined for the burn pile. 
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Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Start tree farm
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2017, 01:29:57 PM »
Catenaut has a good point.  The local forestry guys will tell you to plant to dense.  Don't do it!  Plant wide wide wide.  12x 12 instead of 12x8 or something.  Fewer trees, less thinning, etc.  I'd still try to get a establishment offset by some sort of conservation funding.  Agro forestry trial (cows & pine trees) etc.
Liking Walnut

Offline wesdor

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Re: Start tree farm
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2017, 10:43:54 PM »
If looking beyond my lifetime what species would be best here in the mid-west?  We have Oak Wilt, Walnut Canker, Dutch Elm, to name only a few. 

Is there any quality tree that is a safer bet?  I realize a new disease comes along all the time but it would be good to find something that might be a better in the long term. 

Planting Osage Orange and Gingko might be safe but is there any market for them?

My goal is to leave some good trees growing if the Lord gives me enough time.

Offline TKehl

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Re: Start tree farm
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2017, 08:01:05 AM »
Great question, and it depends on what the idea is down the road.  Generally there are two paths if planning mostly trees, timber production, orchard/nut production.

Iím assuming, and I could be wrong, you are asking about timber production.  My opinion is donít put all your eggs in one basket, inter-plant multiple quality species.  The first thing Iíd do is find what species are wanting to regrow naturally on that land or similar land.  Itís not as easy to force trees to grow where they donít want to be as it is row crops due to trees deeper roots.  You can nudge, but can only push so far before itís not worth the fight in amendments, etc.  Your area, Iíd be thinking a mix of Oaks, Black Walnuts, Pecan, Hickory, Maple, etc.  TCD has been spreading slower than I thought it would, but I wouldnít want to risk going all in on Black Walnut either.  Maple is down now, but is cyclic and may be the hot item when yours are mature.  Again, not all in, but itís all a gamble to a degree, just spreading the risk around.  I also looked on the map, and you are further North than the areas Iím most familiar with.  You may want to look into Birch and Beech as well.

For orcharding, there is a better case for single species planting, but itís not a rule.  Several options here.  Pecan (proven profitable long term), Black Walnut (there are varieties bred for nut production, but a case could be made for seedlings grown for timber, with nuts as a beneficial byproduct), Hybrid Chestnuts (decent profitability data, shorter term), Hazelnuts (more experimental), Hickory (hot item now, but in 5 years??), Butternut/Buartnut (?no experience).  Tree syrup is also an option.  Lots of labor.  Maple, Black Walnut, Sycamore, and Birch are all known, though Maple is the most popular by a lot.

Either of these could also be combine with a cattle/sheep grazing operation (silvopasture) or even row crop (alley cropping) if you are transitioning.  Altogether the system can become more profitable than any individual component would.

Lots of info from the Mizzou center for Agroforestry.
http://www.centerforagroforestry.org/
In the long run, you make your own luck Ė good, bad, or indifferent. Loretta Lynn

Offline Catenaut

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Re: Start tree farm
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2017, 10:10:01 AM »
Wesdor, and I guess others who might have a concern about planting for the grandchildren, the absolutely most successful land use for multi-generational wealth is fruit trees hands down. The question becomes tree selection, and to consider the disease burden in your area. For example, apple trees do incredibly well in New York but rarely last more than 3-4 years in the deep South. On our land we have gone to planting fruit trees with "trainer" trees on alternate rows.

On another note, I wouldnt plant Ginko.

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Re: Start tree farm
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2017, 10:41:49 AM »
I agree on the fruit trees with a couple caveats.

1.    Fruit trees require more active participation.  A Pecan grove left abandoned still makes decent lumber.
2.   Site selection can be critical.  Drainage and avoiding frost pockets especially. 

With that said, I planted 27 fruit trees in a small unused area of the farm for variety trials for expanding later plantings.  So I agree fruit trees certainly have a place, as do bushes and vines (Blackberry, Raspberry, Grape, Hops, etc.)  Even mixes thereof (blackberries do great in partial shade of establishing trees, but get chocked out when the canopy approaches closing). 

Iím a big fan of perennial agriculture.  The question then moves to currently available labor and degree of dedication to involvement of the next generation(s). 
In the long run, you make your own luck Ė good, bad, or indifferent. Loretta Lynn

Offline wesdor

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Re: Start tree farm
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2017, 10:24:06 PM »
Thanks guys. I have been thinking along the lines of diversification and inter planting. So far I have some swamp white oak, black walnut, a black cherry.

Some are doing better than others.
I've retired this year and hope to prepare more ground for trees. 

TKehl, you are reading my mind.  Yes, fruit trees provide potential for more income, but require more work. All our children live at least 3 hours from here and grandkids are only 1 year old.  Thus all the work will be mine.  For that reason I'm probably not going to plant more fruit trees (I do have a few Ranier Cherries which have been a rather disappointing experiment). 

I hope others will benefit from this discussion - we all need to plan beyond our lifetime. 


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