The August tender of special timbers at Island Specialty Timbers achieved a record price for a blackwood sawlog. Described by IST as possibly the best blackwood log ever offered for tender at IST Geeveston, the log achieved a price of $2750 per cubic metre for a total value of $7,500!!
Here is the description of the log from IST:
A large diameter fresh log with dark wood, tight grain and tear-drop figure affecting its full length. Probably the best blackwood log offered for tender at IST Geeveston. Length 4.5 m, butt diameter 93 cm, head diameter 83 cm, volume 2.73 cubic metres, weight about 2000 kg.
The log had two important attributes that contributed to its premium price: very large size, and tear-drop grain figure. Tear-drop is a relatively rare feature grain.
The other blackwood log sold at the August tender was a standard grade log with plain grain that achieved a good price of $420 per cubic metre. This log was of equivalent size and quality to what would be achieved in plantation grown blackwood. At these prices blackwood plantations are a good investment.
Blackwood plantations produce approximately 300 cubic metres of premium sawlog per hectare, which at $420 per cubic metre equates to approx. $120,000 per hectare at harvest in 35 years!! Is anyone interested?
There is also some evidence that figured grain is under at least partial genetic control which means that tear-drop grained blackwood could potentially be cloned. But this will only happen with private blackwood investment. At $825,000 per hectare in 35 years that seems like a reasonable investment!
The other tender result worth noting was the price paid for a high quality blackheart sassafras log of $5,000 per cubic metre!! Unlike blackwood, sassafras cannot be domesticated as a commercial species. But the result clearly demonstrates the ability of the specialty timbers market to pay very high prices for quality sawlogs.
Clearly the market for premium appearance grade timber is very much alive and in good health.