Bunnings Timber Price Lists

Bunnings is the largest hardware chain in Australia. When Australians think of timber they think of Bunnings. Bunnings sets the baseline when it comes to timber prices.

https://www.bunnings.com.au/

Bunnings two main timbers are Tasmanian Oak and Radiata pine. If you want timber other than these species you need to go to a specialist timber retailer. But Bunnings don’t show their prices on a per cubic metre basis, so I’ve done the homework.

Firstly the price list for kiln-dried, dressed, Select Grade Tas Oak as at June 2016:

BunningsTOak0616

Tasmanian oak is a native forest hardwood tree, so the costs of growing Tas oak are considerable in terms of management, regulation, roading, harvesting and transport. Most Tas Oak comes from public native forests managed by Forestry Tasmania. Forestry Tasmania is NOT run as a fully commercial profit-driven business, and has received considerable taxpayer subsidies over many years.

So these prices do not reflect the actual cost of growing the timber.

Prices range between $5,500 and $8,500 per cubic metre, with something of a trend of increasing prices for larger dimension timber to (perhaps) reflect the increased cost (to the taxpayer) of growing bigger, older trees.

Next is the price list for Radiata pine.

Radiata pine is a highly domesticated plantation-grown tree species, where scale, volume and efficiency dominate the market. It is grown primarily for the construction and pulp markets. The pine market is extremely competitive so these prices should accurately reflect the dynamic between supply and demand and the cost of production.

The other point to be made here is that Radiata pine must represent the absolute cheapest that solid wood of any kind can be commercially grown. It’s the bargain basement of solid wood prices.

The price list is for Standard grade pine, with Premium clearwood prices shown in yellow.

BunningsPine0616

Growing Premium grade, knot-free pine requires thinning and pruning the plantations at significant cost compared to growing Standard grade, hence the higher price for Premium grade pine.

Does the 100% markup per cubic metre for the Premium pine make it more profitable for the grower? I hope so!

Prices for the Standard Grade pine range between $1,100 and $3,500, whilst Premium grade ranges between $2,400 and $3,500 per cubic metre for a limited range of sizes.

And here we have a retailer selling blackwood for the same price as radiata pine:

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2015/10/19/blackwood-pricing-and-the-forest-industry-1/

It’s completely insane!

According to Bunnings Select grade Tasmanian oak is 2.5 to 5.2 times more valuable than Standard grade radiata pine (when comparing the same sizes), and 1.7 to 2.6 times more valuable than Premium pine.

Given that Tas Oak is much slower growing than pine and is a native forest species (ie. higher cost of production, lower productivity), one would think that a 2x times price premium can in no way reflect the relative costs of production!

No wonder then that our native forest industry is in such trouble with give-away prices like these.

Also given that Tasmanian oak is not generally regarded as a premium appearance grade timber and is relatively abundant, what would be the relative price of select grade blackwood, which is regarded as a premium timber and is relative scarce? Would it be 3.0 times the price of Premium grade pine, ie. $7,500 per cubic metre? Or 2.0 times the price of Select grade Tasmanian oak, ie. $12,000 per cubic metre?

Surely Tasmanian blackwood timber should be priced well above Tasmanian oak!!

For my previous reviews of timber (including blackwood) price lists see here:

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/category/price-lists/

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3 responses to “Bunnings Timber Price Lists

  1. Interesting price list, Gordon.

    On these figures, there’s a substantial price premium between standard and premium grade radiata. I’ve heard that the sawmills in Victoria will not pay a premium for pine logs that have been pruned to increase the quantity of the premium grade.

    • Hi David,

      When I was last in Mt Gambier at an AFG conference, and the pine resource was still Government owned, they basically gave away the pruned logs to the sawmillers. All the edge trees were high pruned as a fire protection measure not to improve the value of the trees.

      I think farmers planting pine are really asking for trouble. The pine market in Australia is dominated by the large commercial growers who have no interest in expanding the resource base through farm forestry. Clearly the sawmillers support this same position. It’s crazy but what isn’t crazy about the forest industry in Australia?

      As for the election, the forest industry barely rated a mention in the campaign. But in such a policy-lite campaign many issues were completely ignored. I wonder when the forest industry will wake up and realise they have to do things themselves and not keep leaning on politicians?

      Cheers.

      • There may be a market opportunity to supply farm forestry premium pine to local communities at prices comparable to commercial outlets. However, this would depend on the farm forestry pine meeting building code regulations where applicable and if the pine could be milled and dried at smaller local mills such that the product could be sold at competitive prices. The guy who won AFG Treegrower a few years ago from Mt Best in Vic – not that far from my block – had a model along these lines where he was growing and sawing onsite to supply pine at a competitive price.

        Another possibility is supplying timber in different sizes for bespoke applications. We have some enormous pines in an old shelterbelt on our place; well over 1m DBH. One guy I spoke to said he would be interested in buying big beams for use in a shed.

        But I have no idea how large the bespoke market would be. And I don’t think we have any mills left in Australia that are capable of handling very long logs of sizeable diameter. I understand there aren’t many left in the US.

        I think we will plant a few hundred radiata on general principles and high prune them. See how we go in 20 years!

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