walnut and Q alba prices

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walnut and Q alba prices

Post by Lucas » Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:34 pm

http://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/ ... t-20141202

​​Everyone wants Midwest walnut
Vendors paying top dollar for Iowa lumber

Jeremy Kubitz, owner of J. Kubitz Logging Inc. in Dubuque, on a client’s farm in rural Hollandale, Wisc., on Wednesday, November 26, 2014. Kubitz is a fourth-generation logger. (Sy Bean/The Gazette)
By Orlan Love, The Gazette
Dec 2, 2014 at 12:01 am | Print View
Walnut and white oak logs​​ are fetching record prices, according to Iowa loggers, wood merchants and foresters.

“Walnut for sure is at record price levels, and white oak is close if not at record levels,” said Ray Lehn, a southeast Iowa district forester for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

In fact, walnut and white oak are bringing the highest prices Bob Petrzelka, a private forester with Geode Forestry Inc. in Swedesburg, said he’s seen in his 25 years in the forestry business.

“That’s pretty much true,” said Ted Wieland, a buyer and seller of wood for more than 40 years.

“Everybody in the world wants walnut, and our Midwest walnut is the best in the world,” said Wieland, who operates a high-grade lumber milling and export business in Winthrop.

Walnut grown in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin has the best grain and color, said Wieland, chief executive officer of Wieland and Sons Lumber.

The soil and climate in Iowa and a few adjacent states are ideally suited for raising excellent walnut trees, Petrzelka said.

While walnut prices vary with the quality of the wood, Wieland said a typical board foot of walnut sells for $4.15, up from around $3 a year ago.

Petrzelka said he has seen “real good” veneer quality walnut sell for as much as $12 to $14 per board foot.

“There are a lot more $1,000 trees out there now than there used to be” he said.

Wieland, who recently bought 106 walnut trees for $165,000, can attest to that.

“Size is important, but it’s all about quality,” said Gary Beyer, a retired DNR forester who serves as a forestry consultant in the Charles City area.

Both Beyer and Greg Heidebrink, DNR district forester, estimate that no more than 15 percent of the walnut harvested would grade out as veneer quality.

Beyer said the most expensive tree he has sold, a walnut growing on state property near Clarksville, brought $10,000.

The most valuable walnut he’s seen, with a 34-inch diameter and a 60-foot log, still is growing north of McGregor, Beyer said.

“It’s big, long and straight, and there’s not a thing wrong with it,” he said.

As long as it keeps growing, a tree like that will increase in value more than 10 percent a year, Beyer said.

With the high prices, Petrzelka said he and colleague Gretchen Cline have been busier than ever helping clients market their trees.

Wieland said he contracts with about 10 logging crews to harvest the trees he buys.

Competition for marketable walnut is fierce, he said.

“For every 10 piles (of logs) we bid on, we get about two,” he said. “We never get enough walnut to meet demand.”

“A lot of the good stuff gets exported” to China, India, Japan, South Korea and Europe, Wieland said.

“We’re busy, that’s for sure,” said fourth-generation logger Jeremy Kubitz of Dubuque.

Unlike some outdoor occupations, logging is best done in the winter when the trees are bare, the sap has stopped flowing and the ground is frozen, said the proprietor of J. Kubitz Logging Inc., which buys and harvests trees in Iowa and nearby states and exports wood to China, Japan, Germany and other countries.

Kubitz said he prefers to buy trees from landowners who work with forestry consultants.

“If they have hired a consultant, that means they are pretty serious about selling some trees, and the consultant already has identified the ones best suited for harvest,” he said.

Petrzelka said he worries that high walnut prices will deplete the resource.

“We are cutting a lot of trees prematurely,” he said.

Beyer said he sees no danger of over-harvest.

“The people I deal with look at a tree as an investment. As long as it’s growing and showing a good rate of return, they are willing to grow it,” he said.

Heidebrink said tree harvests on state land cannot exceed the replacement rate.

“For the most part we tend to under-harvest,” he said.
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir

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Re: walnut and Q alba prices

Post by DwainSchroeder » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:48 pm

Timber cutting activities may have a somewhat negative connotation for some on this site but I think it's good news that Midwest timber prices are again on the rise. I believe that this actually has a positive affect in preserving woodlands, at least here in the Midwest corn belt. In the old days about all of the farms here in northwest Ohio had a "woods", maybe ten or so acres. But over the years much of this woodland was bulldozed down and converted into farmland. In the 1960's I saw a lot of woods taken down. I would say that the majority of farms in this area now are basically 100% farmable. A woods was a nice thing to have on the farm but selective timber cutting and sales every 30 or so years couldn't compete with the annual profits that corn, soybeans, and wheat generated. Higher timber prices might help some of the remaining woodlands stay that way. And I must add that there are still a lot of farmers, thankfully my dad was one, who wanted to keep some woods just because it seemed like a good thing to do. He didn't know what an environmentalist was but he understood the concept.
Last edited by DwainSchroeder on Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Re: walnut and Q alba prices

Post by Joe » Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:19 am

I suggest that the record prices for walnut is due to the ever increasing wealth of the very wealthy because they've always been the only ones who could afford walnut. I agree that higher prices for timber will help keep forests as forests- though they will be cut more often with high prices and that's a good thing if it's done right.

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Re: walnut and Q alba prices

Post by Matt Markworth » Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:04 am

Lucas wrote:http://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/ ... t-20141202

​Beyer said the most expensive tree he has sold, a walnut growing on state property near Clarksville, brought $10,000.
Regarding the sale of a walnut tree on state property for $10,000, I don't think that it's inherently good or bad, but it's really up to the person making the decision to cut and sell the tree to show that it is inherently good.

It certainly raises a lot of questions in my mind that could help make the determination including:

- How was the $10,000 used? For example, if the $10,000 went into a fund designated for the purchase of state nature preserves then that would be on the plus side, if it paid for an expanded fuel budget for state vehicles then that would be on the negative side.

- How much carbon was the tree sequestering each year? How does that compare to whatever is growing in the tree's previous space?

- What life forms were living on the tree? What life forms were living in any existing cavities within the tree? What species including herbaceous plants were living in the shade of the tree and may not tolerate the additional sunlight? Were there smaller trees around the big walnut and how will they be affected by the tree's removal?

- If the tree was allowed to live out it's entire lifespan and "deathspan", what additional habitats would be created by the decaying wood and what species would benefit from that?

- How does the beauty/aesthetics of the wood products in private hands compare to the beauty/aesthetics of the tree in public hands?

- What other benefits was the public receiving from the tree? For example, was walnut collection permitted? Was tree climbing permitted? Was it in a location providing an educational benefit? Was it a champion tree representing the best of the species in that area?

Well, the point of all the questions is that it isn't just a nice walnut tree that was sold. Many other things were sold or lost by selling the tree, but without the answers to at least some of these questions we'll never know if the selling of the tree was inherently good or bad, but again it's up to the decision maker that took the action to cut/sell to explain to the public why it was inherently good.



Re: walnut and Q alba prices

Post by Joe » Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:10 am

Matt, unfortunately, state officials seldom if ever give such thought to such decisions. That kind of thinking should be done regarding all the mgt. of all public forests. It's beyond "multiple use". For me, I'm all for silviculture because that's what I do- the key thing is that it's done well. If it's done well, the forest will look nice after the work.

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Re: walnut and Q alba prices

Post by dbhguru » Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:45 pm


Your questions are good ones and should provide food for thought for land managers. I've never heard our local public forest managers discuss these considerations publicly. However, I have met a few that probably do think about some of the questions. What you are doing is raising questions about mature trees growing in late successional forests. It is a discussion worthy of continuing.

Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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