Tasmanian blackwood sawlogs at $625 per cubic metre!


Ring the bells! Break out the champagne!!

The first Hydrowood tender results were much better than I was expecting.


The 17.7 cubic metres (13 logs) of plain grain blackwood logs sold for an average of $625 per cubic metre mill door.

These were large good quality logs equivalent in size and quality to what can be grown in a well managed blackwood plantation.

The 3 feature grain blackwood logs sold for $547 per cubic metre.

So that’s $13,100 for one truck load (21.4 cubic metres) of blackwood logs.

At $625 per cubic metre a mature blackwood plantation has a mill door value of $180,000 per hectare!

Why aren’t Tasmanian farmers interested? Why isn’t the TFGA interested? Why isn’t the Government supporting this obvious commercial opportunity?

The standout feature of this tender was the price paid for good quality celery top pine logs at $2,846 per cubic metre. This price far exceeds any price that Island Specialty Timbers have achieved for Celery logs.

The results of this first Hydrowood tender clearly demonstrate that the market is prepared to pay very good prices for high quality special timbers logs.

All up the 35 cubic metres (38 logs) of high quality logs at this first Hydrowood tender fetched over $30,000!!

Congratulations to the Hydrowood team!

The Hydrowood tender results are going to show the lies and deceit of State forest policy as expressed at the recent LC scrutiny committee meeting.


The Government and Forestry Tasmania say that growing special timbers can never be a profitable commercial business because the market can’t afford to pay good prices! That the special timbers industry is a community service and has nothing to do with commercial opportunities.

What pathetic lies!

No one is going to invest in planting Celery top pine, Huon pine, Myrtle or Sassafras for wood production. These species are just too slow growing.

Blackwood however is fast growing and can be grown successfully in commercial plantations. Research in Australia and New Zealand has proven that speed of growth does not negatively impact on wood quality in Tasmanian blackwood.

A second tender of Hydrowood logs and milled logs will commence in late January. To discover more about this innovative venture go to http://www.hydrowood.com.au.

Now who is interested in creating and supporting a profitable sustainable future for our special timbers industry?

11 responses to “Tasmanian blackwood sawlogs at $625 per cubic metre!

  1. Gordon, it seems very strange that Blackwood of plain grain sold for a higher price than figured grain blackwood. I once calculated the value of highly figured blackwood that was being used to make guitars at between $90 thousand and $100 thousand a cubic metre. That is when cut into guitar back and sides pieces and dried. So why was the price of figured wood a hundred dollars a cubic metre less than plain grain?

  2. Malcolm Mackenzie

    Gordon, I also found the lower price for feature grain puzzling but my bigger concern was with your extrapolation from $625/m3 to $180,000/hectare. That implies a production of close to 300m3/ha which I feel is overly optimistic. I don’t expect to see anything like 300m3/ha of good large pruned logs within 40 years but more like half that.

    • Hi Malcolm,
      I have been using the numbers in the New Zealand Blackwood Growers Manual given that there are no better updated more recent figures.

      I’d certainly be interested in having some updated figures.

      What are your current standing volumes? When did you last do a measurement of your plantation?

      150 m3/ha sounds very low to me!



      • Malcolm Mackenzie

        Yep, I’m slack like everybody else and don’t have recent standing volume info. I’m inclined to think the Growers Manual you mention is also overly optimistic. The important info is the volume of pruned butts and my experience is highly stocked blocks have trees no longer adding diameter so to get fat butt logs low stockings are essential.

      • Malcolm,
        I’m always after better/newer information, but until that arrives I’ll stick with the Nicholas & Brown. And always happy to discuss the issue of yields.

        So when was the last time you did any measurements of your blackwoods? Or is that an embarrassing question?? Just asking:)



  3. Hi Peter,
    You are right. The figured grain logs should have attracted a better price than the plain grain. But it’s often difficult to interpret markets, especially individual sales. Markets are far from perfect or logical. Its the longer term trends that are more important so I’m not worried about this one result. In any case we are still a long way from cloning fiddleback blackwood so the price of fiddleback is not so important. But I’m very happy with $625 for the plain logs for the first tender.

    As word spreads around the world of this (Hydrowood) resource I expect we will see some strong bidding.

    I too have heard stories of very high prices being paid for very good blackwood logs. My problem is that none of this information is out there in the public arena so Tasmanian’s don’t know about the commercial opportunity being wasted – growing commercial blackwood. And the forest industry hates talking about log prices and markets.



  4. Thank you Malcom
    You are correct in your estimate of what is a reasonable expectation of pruned sawlog. I have previously provided Gordon with info that should have made him aware of over-estimates. Please check the link Gordon has on this site to the updated NZ Blackwood growth model paper written by Ian Nicholas and co in 2007. It indicates diameters of 60cm in 35-40 years is only achieveable on the best sites at stockings of 100 sph. At 200 sph diameters are restricted to ~50cm, well under 1 cube of pruned sawlog per tree.

  5. Hi Gordon
    I noticed the IST website states ‘top prices’ rather than average prices in relation to the Hydrowood tender.

    • Hi Floyd,
      These logs from Hydrowood were on average much better than anything that IST puts to tender. In some cases they were “top” prices and in other cases not so. But it is early days yet for Hydrowood.

      With the quality and volumes that Hydrowood are going to put to market over the next 5 year they will attract an much broader (and weathier) market than IST could every hope to attract.

      Interesting times!!



  6. Gordon
    There were a number of Blackwood logs in the tender that were far larger than could be grown in plantation, I presume these went for higher prices. Would be interesting to know the average price of the logs less than 60cm at the large end as this would be a better indication of potential prices for plantation logs.

    • Hi Floyd
      Good comment.
      Only 4 of the 16 logs had large end diameters significantly greater than 60cm. So 14 of the logs were well within plantation specifications. Also plantations have trees with a range of diameters. I wouldn’t be harvesting a blackwood plantation if its biggest tree was 60cm diameter, as you suggest. I would at least wait until the average diameter was 60cm. This might mean that the biggest trees are >70 cm. And I’m sure some of my NZ friends would recommend growing them even bigger.
      I don’t think finessing the data around one sale of 16 blackwood logs will bring much greater clarity. Markets are crude beasts and need to be treated with care. I will be more interested in the longer term trends and averages.
      Do larger blackwood logs bring a premium price? I don’t know. The IST data does not support this idea. It all depends upon who is buying I suspect.



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