The forest industry, including timber traders, are notoriously secretive about timber prices, including Hydrowood.
So I stumbled upon some updated prices for Tasmania’s premium timbers from Hydrowood.
They are an eye opener to say the least.
I did a review of Hydrowood blackwood prices back in 2016:
There is little information on the updated prices, but what they do show is worth a story.
Prices for select blackwood and myrtle have increased by 28% over the last 4 years to $6,160 per cubic metre, whilst prices for plain sassafras have increased by 35%!
Hydrowood select blackwood and Myrtle is still significantly cheaper than Tasmanian oak at Bunnings Hardware. Premium timbers at heavily discounted prices!
But then we get to the gold!
Prices for Huon pine and fiddleback blackwood have increased by 158% to a massive $26,700 per cubic metre.
The Hydrowood price list in 2016 showed a flat uniform price-by-volume regardless of timber size. There are indications that Hydrowood has moved away from this to better reflect cost and recovery.
So what does this mean for current and prospective timber growers?
It means giving away public assets to create welfare jobs while undermining the forest industry is not a good strategy.
It means selling Tasmania’s premium timbers at heavily discounted prices sends the wrong message to the community and the marketplace.
Does the forest industry want a future? Apparently not!!
Dysfunctional timber markets is just one of the many issues that the new Tasmanian Forest Products Association has to deal with.
In the mean time we can definitely grow premium plain-grain select blackwood in plantations, in the hope that one day all this great bloody mess will be sorted out!
And this great quote from a former Director of Forestry Tasmania:
The lack of price transparency for forest products, particularly from hardwood forests/plantations [in Australia], represents an impediment to the uptake of farm forestry. Unlike other commodities, price information for forest products is not published through the newspaper or accessible online. Better price transparency is required to encourage smallscale investment in trees.
Do I need say anymore?