Category Archives: Price Lists

More industry-destroying salvage timber

Whilst wandering around the internet I came across some more Australian salvage timber prices that are completely outrageous!

Once again this is farm salvage macrocarpa cypress.

But these prices are beyond ridiculous.

These prices are total destructive of farm forestry and the greater forest industry.

“Structural” grade macrocarpa timber for $800 per cubic metre???

Even the seriously large sizes are the same cheap price.

These prices are for lengths up to 4.2 metres. Pay 20% extra for lengths of 4.2-4.9m, 30% extra for lengths of 5-5.9m, 40% extra for lengths of 6-6.5m.

Madd

This sawmiller’s motto is “quality timber at affordable prices”!!

More like “premium timber at give-away prices” buy now before it’s all gone!!

This sawmiller obviously believes he’s doing a good job helping farmers get rid of unwanted trees and turning them into something useful.

Instead they are guaranteeing that no one will have premium timber in the future!

When I made this chart up, I had to go back and check my figures to make sure I was doing it right. I could not believe what I was seeing.

No farmer is going to bother growing cypress (or any tree) for wood production when its “sold” on the market at these prices.

If the forest industry wants a future; if the marketplace wants to have premium wood in 20, 30 years time, then this nonsense must stop!!

This kind of pricing destroys your future!

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2020/06/13/salvage-timber-markets-and-their-destructive-impact-on-the-forest-industry/

Salvage Timber Markets and their Destructive Impact on the Forest Industry

If we had a real forest industry in Australia and properly functioning timber markets then salvage timber would be just another option in the marketplace. But neither of these conditions applies.

Australia does NOT have a real forest industry NOR does it have proper functioning timber markets.

So when I go to buy macrocarpa cypress timber for a project and pay a price that is ridiculously cheap I realise that, as a consumer, I am helping to destroy the forest industry that I am so passionate about.

The chart below shows the price list for green macrocarpa from the retailer I went to.

The chart shows that regardless what size timber you buy, you are paying the same very low price by volume.

This is salvage macrocarpa from old farm trees around Tasmania. The quality of the salvage timber is variable. But good quality macrocarpa is a premium timber.

Macrocarpa

Cypress is also an ideal farm forestry tree as New Zealand farmers are well aware. It is quick growing, easy to grow on a wide range of sites, and produces a premium timber.

https://www.nzffa.org.nz/farm-forestry-model/species/cypress/

But I know of only 4 farmers in Tasmania who are growing macrocarpa in small plantations.

This is despite the fact that the timber is in high demand.

So when sawmillers and log traders buy old farm trees and pay next-to-nothing for them, and timber retailers sell the timber for bargain prices, who gets the message that demand and prices are high? What farmers are going to invest in growing this premium timber when the marketplace fails as it clearly is?

If I had to pay the real (replacement) cost of growing this wood, plus a premium for the fact that I am buying a premium product, I would expect to pay MUCH MORE than $2,780 per cubic metre.

Never mind that the price list shows no price premium for large sizes as there should be.

If it was Tasmanian oak I’d be paying over $10,000 per cubic metre for my pieces of timber!!

This is a typical salvage timber price list.

The price list is designed to reflect the fact that no one is deliberately growing this wood in Tasmania.

In other words the price list is designed to prevent investment in tree growing.

Tasmania could have a thriving, valuable macrocarpa industry, but it chooses not too; as if Tasmania has a super abundance of commercial opportunities from which to choose.

Sawmillers and timber merchants traditionally take no responsibility for their own future. It is someone else’s job to encourage and support tree growers.

Would any of my New Zealand readers like to share their local price of macrocarpa/cypress timber?

Within Australia I would include public native forestry within this same “salvage” category since the market price for public native forest timbers does not reflect the cost of growing the wood.

It is the responsibility of the marketplace to support and encourage tree growing otherwise there will be no timber in the future.

How do we fix timber markets in Australia so they support commercial tree growing?

How do we stop the salvage timber market from undermining the forest industry?

When will Australia get a real forest industry?

Hydrowood Timber Price Update

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.

https://www.hydrowood.com.au/

They are an eye opener to say the least.

I did a review of Hydrowood blackwood prices back in 2016:

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2016/08/03/hydrowood-blackwood-prices-at-uptons/

There is little information on the updated prices, but what they do show is worth a story.

Hydro2020

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?

The Very Last Bunnings Tasmanian Oak Price List

Bunnings

It has been two years since I last updated the Bunnings timber price list.

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2018/05/12/bunnings-timber-price-list-update/

Since then Bunnings, Australia’s largest hardware chain, has taken an increasing socially responsible position regarding its product sourcing.

All of Bunnings Tasmanian oak comes from the logging of public native forest, which has been the focus of bitter community conflict in Tasmania over many decades, and cost the Tasmanian community billions of dollars:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/29/tasmanian-forest-agreement-delivers-13bn-losses-in-giant-on-taxpayers

With politicians and the forest industry unable to resolve the decades-long forestry wars in Australia, Bunnings has decided to take matters into its own hands. From 1st January 2021 they will no longer sell public native forest timber that does not have FSC Certification.

https://sustainability.wesfarmers.com.au/our-principles/sourcing/suppliers/

As there is no chance of certification happening between now and the end of the year this is the very last Bunnings Tasmanian Oak Timber price list.

https://www.bunnings.com.au/our-range/building-hardware/timber/dressed-timber/hardwood

The chart below shows the changes in price over the last 5 years. Large price increases in 2016 have been followed by minor price increases since then. The larger range of bigger sizes in 2020 shows Tasmanian oak prices breaking the $10,000 per cubic metre barrier!

None of these prices make for profitable public native forest harvesting, since 80% of the volume harvested is sold as low value woodchips. Never mind that no Government forest agency in Australia is run on a commercial basis. It is and always has been Welfare Forestry.

BunningsTA2020

Bunnings is making the correct decision.

It’s time to end destructive, wasteful welfare forestry in Australia, and build a real, commercial forest industry.

So get your Tasmanian oak while you still can!

Blackwood retail price update

I reported on this Tasmanian blackwood retailer previously:

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2018/06/07/another-blackwood-timber-price-list/

Once again the best way to represent this price list is to sort the boards by volume per linear metre. There are still price anomalies that are not due to differences in size or grade.

This sawmiller/retailer specialises in Tasmanian “specialty timbers”.

These timbers obviously come from Tasmanian public native forest, which as everyone should know by now, comes to market at great cost to Tasmanian taxpayers, the plundering of the last of our oldgrowth and rainforest, and the logging of our Conservation Reserves.

These facts don’t seem to worry many people. This retailer has plenty of support.

Welcome to the Tasmanian forest industry!

sjt2-18pl

These are retail prices for kiln-dried and dressed blackwood. This price list includes select, feature and bark-edge grades – can you spot the difference in price between the grades?

The prices which last time were north of $8,000 per cubic metre have dropped back. Obviously the local market is not prepared to pay that kind of price at the moment. Otherwise blackwood prices have remained stable over the past 12 months.

That Tasmanian blackwood timber can command these prices but is not grown commercially in Tasmania is one of life’s many mysteries.

It could also be called a failure of Government and industry policy, and a failure of the marketplace.

Cheers!

Another blackwood timber price list

Here’s a blackwood timber price list for a timber retailer in Tasmania.

This sawmiller/retailer specialises in Tasmanian “specialty timbers”.

These timbers obviously come from Tasmanian public native forest, which as everyone should know by now, comes to market at great cost to Tasmanian taxpayers and the plundering of the last of our oldgrowth and rainforest.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/29/tasmanian-forest-agreement-delivers-13bn-losses-in-giant-on-taxpayers

These prices are for individually priced boards, kiln dried and dressed, select grade (ie. Knot-free plain grain).

I’ve sorted these boards by the wood volume per metre, which seems to provide the best (but by no means perfect) explanation for the variation in price. The other curiosity besides the odd pricing structure is the diverse range of dimensions.

Note the variation in price for the boards of the same dimension eg. 310 x 32mm.

Given that timber is sold in Australia just on a price and NOT price per m or price per cubic metre, most customers would not spot this fraudulent behaviour.

Buyer beware!

ZXSJT

That this sawmiller is getting away with selling select grade blackwood for $8,000 per cubic metre should get some tongues wagging (I hope!).

The fact that getting this timber to market costs Tasmanian taxpayers is the criminal aspect of all this. Welcome to the Tasmanian forest industry!

Bunnings Timber Price List Update

Bunnings

It’s been almost 2 years since I last reviewed Bunnings timber prices.

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2016/07/01/bunnings-timber-price-lists/

Bunnings timber prices (per linear metre) are readily available on their web page.

https://www.bunnings.com.au/our-range/building-hardware/timber/dressed-timber/hardwood

From these I have created the following chart showing the current retail price for Tasmanian Oak Select Grade Dressed All Round (DAR), together with two previous price points.

Prices are shown per linear and cubic metre.

BunningsTasOak3

The retail price for tas oak hasn’t increased that much over the last 2 years. This is curious given there is supposed to be a timber shortage due to the building boom. Obviously the building boom is doing nothing for the fortunes of public native forestry.

Current retail prices range from $5,850 to $8,900 per cubic metre.

These prices do not reflect the actual cost of growing the wood and managing our public native forests as this recent article in The Guardian newspaper makes perfectly clear:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/29/tasmanian-forest-agreement-delivers-13bn-losses-in-giant-on-taxpayers

Almost all Tasmanian oak comes from the harvesting of Tasmanian public native forests.

Bringing Tas oak to market comes at the expense of Tasmanian schools and hospitals, roads and public housing; never mind the 35 years of bitter community conflict.

Australia will never have a real forest industry whilst the market continues to support uneconomical public native forestry.

So where does that leave Bunnings?

Bunnings seems to be a pretty good company and corporate citizen. They have some good policies:

https://www.bunnings.com.au/about-us/our-actions/bunnings-and-timber

Our actions

We pursue sustainability within our operations by striving to make them socially responsible, environmentally aware and economically viable.

Bunnings has a great Responsible Timber Sourcing Policy and is obviously proactive in helping protect the world’s forests:

We are confident that more than 99 per cent of timber products are confirmed as originating from low-risk sources including plantation, verified legal, or certified responsibly sourced forests. Within that, more than 85 per cent of our total timber products are sourced from independently certified forests or sourced with demonstrated progress towards achieving independent certification, such as that provided by the Forest Stewardship Council and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

We continue to seek advice from Greenpeace and WWF on our procurement and we remain grateful for their ongoing support.

We are proud that our long term efforts and commitment to timber procurement has provided customers and team members with the knowledge that our timber is responsibly sourced.

Bunnings is Australia’s leading retailer of Tasmanian oak timber, legally sourced from public native forests in Tasmania, and certified under the Australian Forestry Standard/PEFC, but not under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

I think it is time for Bunnings to live up to its policies and stop plundering Tasmania’s forests and Tasmanian taxpayers.

It is time for Bunnings to stop selling Tasmanian oak.

Public native forestry in Tasmania is not profitable or sustainable. Never has been and never will be.

Bunnings in New Zealand does not sell any dressed hardwood timber at all. None.

I can’t see why Bunnings Australia can’t do the same.

Come on Bunnings!

Live up to your policies!

 

Hoop pine

Hoop

The recent discussion about Bunya pine and the tonewood market led me to wonder about Queensland Hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii)

Hoop pine is the only premium plantation timber species currently harvested in Australia. Some 500 ha are harvested each year. It is not known how much wood is produced from this harvest.

As such Hoop pine provides the only example in Australia of what a future plantation blackwood market might look like; with the one exception that if I was around I would be trumpeting the blackwood market dynamics as much as possible. Market transparency is vital!

Here’s a Hoop pine fact sheet from the Queensland government:

http://era.daf.qld.gov.au/id/eprint/3931/4/hoop%20pine%20final%20factsheet_update%20May%202017.pdf

(Curious how these forest fact sheets never talk about economics or log prices, as if investing in trees has nothing to do with money!)

The 44,500 ha of Hoop pine plantations were established by the Queensland Government but were sold when the Government decided to privatise the forest plantation resource in 2010, and are now owned by the one company,  Hancock Timber Resource Group, with the plantations managed by HQPlantations.

http://www.hqplantations.com.au/araucaria.html

So far as I’m aware the forest industry is not seeking to encourage the expansion of the Hoop pine plantation resource. Given that the Hoop pine owners pay no local Government rates, expansion of this resource by competing landowners will be difficult.

No one will ever know how much the market is paying for Hoop pine logs. It’s difficult enough to find Hoop pine timber retail prices. Timber merchants positively hate advertising their prices. So the economics of plantation Hoop pine as an investment are unknown and that’s the way the forest industry likes it.

If you spend a lot of time searching on the internet you may find the following economic study of plantation hoop pine investment:

Herbohn, J.L. 2006, ‘Potential financial returns from Hoop Pine and an assessment of the likely impacts of various support measures on landholder willingness to plant’, in Harrison, S.R. and Herbohn, J.L (ed.), Proceedings of Sustainable Forest Industry Development in Tropical North Queensland; Cooperative Research Centre for Tropical Rainforest Ecology and Management, Rainforest CRC, Cairns.

Herbohn 2006

The study uses a stumpage of just $70 per cubic metre for a 45-50 year-old plantation grown premium wood product!!

That would certainly kill any landholder willingness to plant!

All a 2012 Queensland Government report on the State forest industry could say about Hoop pine was these 60 words:

Araucaria (hoop pine) plantations consist largely of plantings of hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii), with smaller areas of bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii). However, araucaria log timber is relatively costly to produce because of high management and harvesting inputs, largely as a result of the steep sites on which it has been established and high pruning costs. Crop rotation lengths are also very long at around 40 to 50 years.

State of Queensland (2012) Queensland forest and timber industry situation analysis.

It doesn’t sound encouraging does it?

Nevertheless I managed to track down one Hoop pine retail price list:

HoopPriceChart

It’s a curious price list in terms of the limited sizes available and the prices. High prices for small cuts but not for big cuts. Wide boards (140mm) are cheaper, with thicker wide boards (31mm) being cheaper than thin boards (12mm). The prices on the range of 42mm wide boards (8, 19, 31 and 42 mm) provides for some curious deliberation.

What is clear is that these represent premium prices (~$9,000 per cubic metre) for premium plantation timber. Compare these prices with the $2,500 per cubic metre for dressed premium grade Radiata pine from Bunnings Hardware:

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2016/07/01/bunnings-timber-price-lists/

It would certainly be interesting to know the details of the business model the Hoop pine plantation owner uses to maximise returns to the company. Just exactly how profitable are these plantations to the owner? This price list gives us few clues.

If any readers have Hoop pine growing I’d love to hear your stories. Send us a comment.

Select Grade Blackwood Timber for >$10,000 per cubic metre!

Wandering around the internet and here’s the first blackwood timber price list for the new year. This price list is for dressed select grade blackwood timber from a timber retailer in Sydney.trenddbwd

It contains a limited range of sizes.

It also contains little by way of volumetric price increases with increasing timber size to reflect the fact that larger dimension timber can only come from larger trees which take longer to grow and therefore should cost more.

What is shown here are select grade blackwood volumetric prices for the first time getting well into the 5 figures!!

I wonder when Tasmanian farmers will begin to take notice?

Blackwood Timber Price List Summary 2016

It’s a year since I started down the road looking at sawn timber retail prices in Australia.

Part of the reason is the lack of publically available market-based stumpage prices for blackwood.

What I have found is blackwood timber pricing that is all over the place.

Here’s a summary of the four timber price lists I have found so far.

BPL1

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

Here we have Select grade blackwood selling for the same price as Radiata pine at Bunnings Hardware, and with no price premium for larger dimension timber.

I hate to think what the grower of this blackwood got paid for their logs!

Blackwood doesn’t have a future at these prices.

abpl0916

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2015/10/26/blackwood-pricing-and-the-forest-industry-2/

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2016/09/12/blackwood-timber-price-rises-by-15/

This price list looks much better. It even has a modest 5.8% price premium for sizes above 25mm. And with the recent 15% price increase we are beginning to rival global premium timber prices.

If this was the standard retail price for Select grade blackwood we might get some investor interest.

BPL3KD

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2015/11/09/price-list-from-hell-revised/

This price list seems very confused. It offers a price premium for both small and large dimension timber (width), but this premium decreases with increasing timber thickness!?

A huge ranges of sizes are offered, in two length classes.

However these prices equate to Select Grade Tas Oak prices at Bunning. These prices are not those for a premium timber species.

Yet another road to blackwood ruin.

HydrowoodBWD

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2016/08/03/hydrowood-blackwood-prices-at-uptons/

And finally we have retail prices for Hydrowood blackwood, which are much cheaper than Tas Oak at Bunnings.

Bargain basement salvage blackwood timber designed to destroy the blackwood industry.

In summary we have kiln dried select grade blackwood timber available from $2,500 to over $8,500 per cubic metre, with most price lists setting no price premium for larger dimension timber. In one case there is a negative premium for large dimension timber!

It’s complete market chaos!

With so much taxpayer-subsidised blackwood in the marketplace it’s impossible to know what the real market price for blackwood timber is.

It is certainly not a growers market, and if growers can’t make any money then blackwood doesn’t have much of a future.

The only basis for a successful forest industry is profitable tree growing.

This is what happens when Government and industry policy dictates that the forest industry must be a community service and not a business.