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Author Topic: Fewer loggers?  (Read 2267 times)

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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Fewer loggers?
« on: September 16, 2001, 03:38:46 PM »
All things considered, life goes on.

I saw this item over at the Hardwood Review.  Their commentary is that loggers are leaving the profession in droves.  This will have long ranging effects throughout the hardwood industry.

Reasons include high timber prices in regards to log prices and poor pulp markets.

Mills are responding by putting on there own crews, where possible.  Other mills cannot afford crews, which may yield dire results.

Log inventories are pretty low, and things will get lower as we approach winter.  I know that when lumber buyers come to our mill they look at our log supply.  We have about 2 weeks worth of inventory.  Many guys are working on a day-to-day basis.

Logging conditions have been excellent, since we are in a drought.  Landowners are holding timber off of the market, due to the drop in price.  When we hit the mid to late fall, our logging weather will go down hill, along with inventories.

How are the rest of you doing?

Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Offline Jeff

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Re: Fewer loggers?
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2001, 03:54:35 PM »
Our log inventories remain low, but by choice. We have little work right now. I have been taking 1 or 2 days a week off all summer to take care of Different callings. My back-up sawyer saws at about 30% of what I do and we are still way ahead of our orders. We are selling some soft maple grade, and some low grade crating material but our aspen market has all but dried up for now.

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Offline Tom

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Re: Fewer loggers?
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2001, 04:25:40 PM »
No drought here lately but things have been slow for everybody for almost a year now.  Pulpwooders getting out of the business and selling equipment.  Most are older and retiring but few new ones coming on.  Trucks and trailers are for sale everywhere you look.  Some of them even run. :D

I've asked around to find out what's been going on and nobody really knows except the mills are closing and log prices are going down.  You can't feed a family and a truck too without a good second job.

Even my little custom sawing business has felt a slowdown.  This past summer has not provided enough income to make equipment payments and I have had to supplement them.

I could have done better if I had seriously beat the bushes but actually I needed the time off.

One thing for certain is that we can look for things to get better :)  If they get much worse, we'll all be doing something else. :D ;D

Somebody has money. The lawn services are causing traffic jams on the interstate. There's so many of them that they can't get out of each others way.

Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: Fewer loggers?
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2001, 07:52:23 PM »
Texas is short of loggers, and the log decks are low.  With LP saying they have about 3 weeks of logs on the deck.  Many loggers out because of economy of the market, low log price, logging cost the same, owners not selling.  Pine logs fell in some markets to $45 a ton, or about $20 a ton to land owner, most said no.  Saw one sale at $10 a ton, where the logger never paid that after the cut.

Screwed up market in Texas, I am working on completing a sale at stumpage of $47 a ton, while the rest are trying to guess how I got that bid (Export logs, higher market).
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Re: Fewer loggers?
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2001, 04:39:46 AM »
I'm operate a small custom sawing service & logging operation in East Texas.  I am relatively new to the business, but my experience in logging echos what Don said, high costs & low log prices prevent me from offering timber owners much for their timber, so they don't/won't sell.

I've paid as little as $5 per ton up to as much as $26 per ton.  One advantage that I have is that I can trade out sawing lumber for the landowner for stumpage.  This has worked out very good in some instances.  I will also take on jobs that no one else will such as cutting gas well locations.  The advantage of this is that the landowner has been paid once for the timber by the gas company, so I can buy the timber for a little less than it would normally cost me.  I will also clean timber out of fence rows for the timber if it is good timber, although this is not always a profitable deal.  Last but not least I'm a small enough operator that I can & will cut small tracts that no one else will touch, including yard trees.

I'm always looking for ways to drive my costs down and found better markets for logs so that I can pay a decent price for stumpage.  I think that is the key to surviving in this business.  In my limited experience if I'm cutting in good timber my production goes way up, my costs are down, I can pay more for the timber, and even I make some money. 8)


Offline Tom

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Re: Fewer loggers?
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2001, 06:21:05 PM »
Thats the  way to do it, Texas Tom.  The good thing about small operations is that they don't have to listen to what "big business" has determined to be the right way to do things and can cut any cotton pickin' tree they want.  A big mill won't mess with Black Gum but a little mill may have a bowl turner as a customer.  Fence row wood is usually full of foreign material but when the species is a "high dollar" wood then a $20 bandblade becomes expendable.  It's the small mill owner that should be patted on the back for utilizing stumpage that the larger mills find non-economical.

Keep on charging on.  There's product everywhere and customers show up eventually.  We have the advantage of not having anybody tell us we can't do something and it's amazing what you can accomplish when you don't know you can't.(figure that sentence out  :D)

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