Northwest Illinois Forestry AssociationWoodland owners sharing ideas on forest productivity

Marketing Your Timber

When marketing timber, the following are the basic steps one should follow.

1. Select which trees to harvest
2. Estimate individual tree volumes (Tree Scale Table is here)
3. Estimate the total volume to be sold
4. Estimate what your timber is worth (Timber Prices found here)
5. Determine the method you will use to sell your timber
6. Identify the criteria you will use to select a buyer
7. Decide how your timber will be priced
8. Advertise your timber sale to loggers and log buyers
9. Develop a written contract with the chosen logger or log buyer
10. Inspect the sale and harvest

It also would be a good idea to hire a professional consulting forester to assist you in managing the timber sale and harvest.  Normally, this forester will perform all of the above ten steps in exchange for a single-digit percentage of the total sale.  Considering that the professional forester performs these steps regularly and knows which log buyers to solicit, hiring one is generally a good investment.

NIFA members have noted that, in competitive timber bidding, the lowest bid is generally half of the highest bid.  This may mean that if you only can get one or two bidders, your final sale price will be low.  Investing in a consulting forester to get you four or more bids may gain you a significant increase in the winning bid.

However, a high sale price is not the only reason to use a consultant.  You may want your trees to be selected with care.  You may want your trees to be valued correctly in volume and price.  You may want a professional for advice if there is any disagreement with the log buyer.  You may want a professional to oversee the sale and harvest. 

It should go without saying that a forest management plan is a prerequisite to marketing your timber.  The management plan will identify those stands that are in need of a harvest, the regeneration practices to replace the harvested trees, and even the crop trees that should not be harvested yet.  Harvesting without a plan means that you only care about current income and are willing to sacrifice the quality of your forest and its trees for short-term income.

There are many references on the internet to marketing your timber.  Just two of these are:

The State of Michigan has a brochure entitled, ”Getting the Most Return From Your Timber Sale” that can be found here.

In addition, the Illinois State Extension Forester, Jay Hayek, has a webpage full of other marketing resources which can be found here.

• For questions or inquiries, send email to website admin

• To submit membership applications or renewal dues,

mail to NIFA Treasurer, 9098 East Canyon Rd, Apple River, IL   61001

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