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Author Topic: Woodlot Income  (Read 7456 times)

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Offline panhandle

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Woodlot Income
« on: September 29, 2012, 11:50:52 AM »
I'm looking for resources on ways to make money in the woods-- selling pulp wood or saw logs, milling lumber, selling firewood, etc. Is there a good resource that explores the economic efficiency of different woodlot income strategies? Or can we get a discussion of woodlot income going in this thread? If you make money in the woods on your own land, please weigh in.

Thanks!


I'm wasn't sure where to put this topic, so mods, please move it as you see fit.

Offline beenthere

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Re: Woodlot Income
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2012, 12:08:48 PM »
I've never looked at a woodlot as a money maker. I take from the woodlot, and enjoy having the woodlot.
But I don't see it as a paying proposition.

But then my woodlot is small, at only 22 acres.
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline Magicman

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Re: Woodlot Income
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2012, 01:49:56 PM »
I have this "Woodlot Income" thing down to a well tuned science.  You cut and sell timber every 15 years and make enough money to reimburse the tax, insurance, and equipment expenses for the previous 15 years.  I only own 346 acres so I had better enjoy the recreational benefit that I get each year.
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Woodlot Income
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2012, 06:04:37 PM »
Depends on what you have for trees and the size. I have 150 acres that I play with. When I was able to do the cutting myself I got all the money. Now I share that with a logger. But cutting it yourself you really have to know a little about selling the wood. I was never one really to cut just for pulp. I feel there is more money in saw logs. But there again it does help to open up the forest and get rid of trees that need to be thinned out. In differant parts of the country things are done differant too. Probaly the best way is to saw the logs yourself and sell the lumber. Or even better make something out of the lumber.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Woodlot Income
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2012, 06:33:28 PM »
Why limit yourself to trees?  There's money in seasonal crops that can be grown mainly in wooded conditions.  There are mushrooms, truffles, ginseng, among other types of crops.  You might have to do different types of work, but you can get a some income to help while you wait for your forest to mature. 

I remember that there was a guy talking up Oregon white truffles.  You need truffles to interact with the rhizomes to get Doug fir to grow.  Those white truffles can be worth more than the timber, given the rotation time.  He was talking in the neighborhood of $200/lb, and that was 10 years ago.  Black truffles grow on oaks in Europe and they use pigs to find them.  I haven't looked lately, but the price was $500/lb back then.  No one has really looked for truffles in the US hardwoods.

Ginseng is another source of income.  Native grown root stock takes about 7 years to mature.  Woods grown is worth more than commercially grown sang.

There are lots of different types of fungi.  Some of these you need to grow on wood.  You get that from low quality polewood that would normally go as pulp or firewood. 

There's also nuts.  Black walnuts go for about $15/lb if you husk and shell them.  I'm sure the southern boys have pecans they can harvest.  You can get equipment that gets you in the business rather cheaply compared to buying a mill. 

We have several guys here on the forum that collect maple sap and make maple syrup.  I hear you can also do that with hickory. 

If you're good at carving, you can make wood spirits or canes.  There's also turnings you can make, such as bowls or pens.  You can also make wreaths from vines.  Lots of arts and craft things for those with the artistic eye and skill. 

Too often we short ourselves because we only see the forest as being a source of wood fiber or possibly a hunting or hiking ground.  Lots of other things out there.  Too bad we limit ourselves in our thinking.
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Offline Cedarman

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Re: Woodlot Income
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2012, 08:30:29 PM »
A 6" to 7" sassafras pole 10' long split 4 ways generates $18.00 or $4.50 per split rail.  Have sold over 20,000 rails in the last 15 years.  Only about 1/2 have come from our property, I had to buy the other poles needed.
Have order for 250 as I write this.  $4.75 each.
Took an hour to mark the trees and should only take about 3 hours to cut and drag to edge of woods and load out.
Wife sits on tractor and runs hydraulic controls. 2 people put poles on splitter. Split about 50 to 70 per hour.   Would do more if I redesigned the splitter.
One more way to make money from my woodlot.
I am in the pink when sawing cedar.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Woodlot Income
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2012, 11:35:37 PM »
Wreaths from balsam fir and black spruce. They both have a pleasant odor. The black spruce, around here at least, have a kind of citrussy sweet smell to them. Reminds me, I was in for an oil change a month ago. The guy says I like sitting in your car when I drive it in the garage. That fir/spruce evergreen smell he says. People pay for that smell in those deodorizers he said. :D You meet all kinds. I keep a wool blanket on the seat, I imagine that was mixed with all kinds of woods odors including sweaty clothes. ;)
Move'n on.

Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: Woodlot Income
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2012, 12:40:21 AM »
In northern Idaho, I am assuming your land is mountainous? Rocky Mountain softwood trees? A lot you can do with that stuff, as the guys said, the possibilities are nearly endless, limited only by your imagination and determination. You can sell timber, you could mill it yourself, you could make shingles, you could grow berries, farm mink, trap beaver, crush and sell gravel, become a hunting guide, raise goats, raise bees, who knows, on and on.

Basically, you have to look at what appeals to you, what you want your land to do for you over the years of your life, how much income you need or want, how much you want other people involved in the process of obtaining money from your land (harvesting trees, for instance), how much interest you have in obtaining special equipment, learning how to use it, and learning how to manage your resources (and with what long-term goals).

But you've come to the right place. Keep looking through all the sections of the Forum, and find the parts of forestry that really get you interested, or apply to your situation. Ask questions. If there's more you want to know about specific things, let us know. It will begin to crystallize for you.
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Offline drobertson

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Re: Woodlot Income
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2012, 10:49:35 PM »
This will take a complete evaulation of the track of land of the standing timber, dead or alive.  It will take an evauluation of the markets at the time of harvest, and the means to bring the product to market, cost of harvest ect.  And finally, what income is needed to support the way of life intended. Just saying, getting back to the basics is a humble life, but rewarding, making a mint, if this is what is desired is a different story, not that you are looking at a mint, just saying, a mint is volume based, or better said well managed. 
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,

Offline DanG

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Re: Woodlot Income
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2012, 01:45:35 PM »
As Okra said, you're only limited by imagination and you have the imaginations of hundreds of sharp minds at your fingertips, right here at the Forestry Forum.  You already got some good answers on this thread, and there are many more in every section of the forum.  There are folks making useful and marketable items from all sorts of things.  Just get a comfy chair and start reading. ;)
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Woodlot Income
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2012, 02:53:47 PM »
Don't forget things like hunting leases. If you have the right game located on, using, or passing through your woodlot, hunting leases can be lucrative.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Woodlot Income
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2012, 09:45:23 AM »
Very much so in my area.  $20 per acre per year is about the normal. 
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Offline francismilker

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Re: Woodlot Income
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2012, 06:39:03 PM »
Here's my two cents on making money off of a woodlot.  For what it's worth, I'm an extreme novice when it comes to milling wood.  However, I used to spend thousands per year having ground cleared with a dozer and burning priceless logs.  I know, to a bunch of lumberjacks that's blasphemy, but I'm guilty. 

Then, last year, my boy and I started clearing an acre with a chainsaw.  We cut every tree no matte species into 18" firewood and split it up.  We sold enough firewood off of that one acre to pay all the property taxes, home insurance, and heated our house to boot. 

My opinion is that if a person is willing to work steady at a woodlot and be creative that there's money to be made. Can a man get wealthy?  Not unless there's gold or coal underneath.  Can a man provide for his family? Yes, if he's willing to get his hands dirty and work!
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Offline DanG

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Re: Woodlot Income
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2012, 07:35:47 PM »
In looking back, I noticed that it was asked if you could make money with a woodlot.  He didn't say how much money he was talking about, so the answer is definitely "YES".  It is somewhere between hard and impossible to make a living from it, but you can make some money from most any woodlot.  Way back in 1970, I bought a little 2 acre woodlot with a lot of semi-mature pines on it for $1000.  In about 1985, I had it clearcut and sold the trees for $3800.  I never got around to replanting or doing anything else with it, and in 2000 I sold the land for $12,500.  Now it is pretty rare to do that well on a piece of dirt, but it is possible to come out ahead.  Like Francismilker said, if you are willing to work hard, you can enhance the income from it.  If I hadn't lived 50 miles away from it by the mid-nineties, I could have sold a lot of firewood from the oaks that came up when the pines were gone, and if I had had a sawmill at the time, I could have made a lot more from those trees I sold.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Woodlot Income
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2012, 03:30:00 AM »
Also there is some long term things that you can do now. One of them is to take some time and thin and pole prune for your better trees to grow as healthy as possible. I have thinned 50 acres, maybe a little more, on my woodlot over the past 8 years. I did get assistance for this from our silviculture program. I am now at the stage where my fir is beginning to get big enough to pole prune. I have my own criteria for this. The trees have to be in closed canopy, not over topped and lower limbs beginning to die, limb diameters smaller than my thumb. The bark has to be full of pitch bubbles, no furls or folds in the bark, no old scars, not pistol grip shape on the but, dead straight (no sweep) and between 8-14" dbh and not on the edges of open clearings. Also, I only do this on good growing sites on well drained soil. I just take a couple hours with a pole pruner and go up 10 feet. This gives me clear wood, after a couple years of healing the knots, and clear but logs in 20 years. I'm still young and foolish, so I plan to live for quite a while yet. I'm not making work out of the pruning gig, but it will pay me dividends in quality or some nice logs for building projects. Either way, I figure I win. I don't waste time on junk trees that will only be firewood or pulp or worm food. Trees that I find that could be cut to open up a spot for a better one will be cut to make fertilizer. But I would not cut a tree just for the sake of removing it unless it benefits a better one. The idea is to take advantage of what your presented with and not waste time and effort where there is no benefit.  I have a young forest here and lots of ground to work over. Just for interest sake, I figure the cost of pruning is $5-6 a tree. Only energy consumed while pruning is from glucose and ATP. ;)
Move'n on.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Woodlot Income
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2012, 09:48:25 AM »
Swampdonkey,nicely put. It's the love of the land that makes us do the things that others say,I could find something better than that to do. Quote from an owner of a 250 foot lot with one tree on it.  ::)
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Offline Cedarman

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Re: Woodlot Income
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2012, 05:15:37 PM »
Anyone take a heavy insulated wire and wrap it in a spiral manner from ground to about 5' around a sapling about 1" or less in diameter.  Let the sapling grow a few years to get that spiral look. It is the look you get when a vine grows up a tree in a spiral manner.  When those saplings are made into canes, they get the big bucks.  Just thought of this. Might just give it a try myself.  Sassafras, maple, sumac, maybe some others.
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Offline Mark Wentzell

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Re: Woodlot Income
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2012, 07:33:01 AM »
Take a look at timbergreenforestry.com , they're into making income off of a small woodlot.


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