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Author Topic: Biomass Harvesting for all Loggers?  (Read 1548 times)

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Offline Gary_C

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Biomass Harvesting for all Loggers?
« on: August 08, 2009, 01:14:51 PM »
There was just a large pulpwood sale in Minnesota where the state sold one tract with 12200 cords of mainly Aspen pulp and the price was bid up from about $17 per cord to just over $40 per cord. And this is at a time when the price for Aspen pulp delivered at the mill is around $80 per cord and I would estimate the trucking from that site would run close to $25 per cord. So that theoretically leaves about $15 per cord for the logger to cut and get those 100 inch long sticks to the landing.

Now when I was talking to the state forester that put up the sale, he surmised that the logger had good biomass markets for the residue of that job. Now the state now offers a biomass option on certain sales, including this one. On this large tract the buyer can opt to buy 5550 tons of biomass at 80 cents per ton which will amount to $4440. If the logger can get $25 to $35 per ton for that biomass they can earn as much as $194,250 on the residue that most small loggers leave on the ground. Problem is that requires a $400,000 machine that drinks about 42 gallons of diesel fuel per hour. I have heard that the margins are not very high in the biomass end of the logging, but it does add to the bottom line on the job.

So is this the end of the small loggers with limited resources being able to compete on timber sales?

I don't know what this logger plans to do with this sale but right now it is tough to even get quota for Aspen pulp let alone get a reasonable price for the wood. The timber sale contract is for five years and there are tax advantages to holding a timber sale for one year before cutting as well as potential price increases for the wood. But the down payment of 15 per cent on this job alone amounts to $74,179.49 and how many small loggers can afford that.

If you are interested in the equipment for biomass harvesting, there is a "in the woods" demonstration of harvesting equipment scheduled for August 19-20, 2009 near Hazelhurst, WI. You can see the particulars here:

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Offline Tillaway

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Re: Biomass Harvesting for all Loggers?
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2009, 08:44:24 PM »
I'm seeing alot of that type of bidding.  Guys out here are just buying jobs to keep the repo guy away for a little longer.  They can't cover costs but its better than picking up the entire payment.  They hope things pick up before they are out of money, this just buys them more time. Kind of like a game of chicken.
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Offline Tom

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Re: Biomass Harvesting for all Loggers?
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2009, 11:41:07 PM »
The only example I can compare it with is the demise of the short-wood pulpwooder when the mills went to tree length.  The short-wood guys were the only ones that could get rid of the Urban wood and make money.  They also cleaned up after the bigger loggers left a site.  Now you never see one on the road.

Lots of kids were put through college on short-wood by parents who didn't have an elementary school education.  We are using technology and greed to kill all but the largest of businesses.

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