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Author Topic: Pulp Conversion  (Read 7240 times)

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Offline ahlkey

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Pulp Conversion
« on: September 26, 2009, 08:42:19 am »
I plan on doing an Aspen/Red Pine cut next month on my property.  It is a required Managed Forest Law cut and will include 20 acres of Aspen and approximately 5 acres of Red Pine.   I plan to do all the logging myself given the size and the fact that it will be clear cut except for the Red Pine.   I do not have a logging truck to haul so I have started to get quotes from the local logging companies to truck it 35 miles to the mill.    The quotes so far are all by the cord to me on the landing and are being converted back to cords once they are weighed at the mill.   The question I have is if anyone knows a reaasonable trucking fee for 200 plus cords to the mill 70 miles (roundtrip) for the upper Midwest?  Second, what is a common conversion for Aspen to cords as the quotes so far vary quite a bit?  Is it possibel to deal with just the actual tonnage and pay a trucking fee to the mill.  In that way no conversion and no doubt?  So far the first two quotes are all based on the price per cord to me.  Neither would take the Red Pine at this time but I may cut most of them for lumber with the sawmill anyway.  I would like to wait to do the cutting but under the MFL I am already behind my required cut.   If anyone has any idea on what would be a good price for Aspen Pulp for the upper Midwest that would be helpful as well. 

Offline PAFaller

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2009, 10:01:08 pm »
I dont know what legal load weight in your state is, but I know here in PA an average triaxle log truck full of tree length pulp that is good and straight can average around 8 cords. Put a bunch of crooked stuff in there and you may be lucky to get 7. I would venture to say a cord averages 2.5 ton, so you can crunch the numbers you were given backwards to see what these guys want per ton. I know the way I negotiate with my drivers is to multiply the mileage by their loaded mile rate add the load/ unload fee, and divide by the legal load weight of 20 tons. That way I dont end up paying ridiculous per ton rates if they get lazy and try to throw the loads on in 10 minutes without taking the time to pack it on. I can also tell you that if the turnaround time at the mill is quick, and you only have 35 miles to get there, good drivers that hustle should get you 3-4 loads a day. You are also much better off paying a bit more to a good driver than going with the low-ball guy whos truck is being worked on more than its working!! Trust me, been down these roads more than once, and I am sure many other guys here have as well. Hope this helps, Greg
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Offline ahlkey

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2009, 09:17:28 am »
This does help.  I was able to find a publication for Michigan that mentioned a weight of 2.3 tons per cord for green aspen.   I also made a mistake in calculating the amount of cords that I can get from these 20 acres of Aspen.  This is a good mature stand and based on the state's publications they estimate on a mature stand to range from 20-30 cords per acre.   Does this seem about right?  So if I do get 25 cords per acre that would be 500 cords which will certainly keep me busy for a few weeks. 

Offline chucker

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2009, 10:09:23 am »
numbers sound good? only thing is when aspen get that big theres not much value do to center discolor(saw bolts) or rot. pulp is usually good up to 16" and chippers dont want anything over 20" around here when your doing the harvesting.....with larger trees the wood is quicker to harvest without as many return trips, but then again the tree count comes down as well per acre... log tonnage realy depends on ground moisture conditions, i would not expect 25 per to bank on......
respect nature ! and she will produce for you !!  jonsered 625 670  2159 2171/28"  efco 147 husky 390xp/28" .375... 455r/auto tune 18" .58 gauge

Offline 4genlgr

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2009, 07:10:45 am »
up here in maine there is no "legal" conversion from weight to cords and vice versia if you sell wood by the ton your supposed to get paid and pay by the ton etc.
way back when i startd trucking wood it was all stick scaled then the mills went to your choice and finally just weight so they had a data base to base the old cord/weight ratio on
odd thing was one mill would weigth fir and spruce at 4100lbs/cord and another at 4200 per and around here baslam fir can weight up real good sometimes and spruce can be real light back to poplar one mill took it  at 4300# and another at 4600# (2.15 and 2.3) 2.5 was hardwood

i'd check with  the mills wood buying department to see if you can get a current price for delivered wood then you can figure out the trucking price by subtracting the "roadside" price you have gotten from the truckers

also here in maine the landowner has to fill out a "landowers report" for the state for every "intent to harvest" form they file with the state. This is a report of wood harvested, stumpage paid and if it was exported to canada. the state puts the results by county on the web so anyone can go look up the high, low, and average stumpage paid. that price can  vary alot depending on the type of cut, ground conditions etc but these are not reflected in the report they probably have something similar out where you are   good luck

Offline ahlkey

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2009, 11:38:31 pm »
After checking with the mills you hit the nail on the head.   The mills locally are buying based on the ton and it seems the conversions used for Aspen is 4,600 (2.3) by most who are trucking.   I did get one quote at 2.3 and the same conversion was listed on contracts on State lands.  So if I work back based on the prices quoted from the mills the trucking estimates are coming in at 25-28% per load for 80 miles (roundtrip).   I found a new pellet mill that just opened a few months ago that is only 40 miles roundtrip. They quoted me prices that are less but if I can get the trucking cost lower I may be better off with a lower price per ton.  Likewise, they will take Aspen down to 2" while the larger mills indicated they will only take 4" and up. 

I am considering trucking myself as I do have a 26ft - 14K deckover trailer that would hold 5 tons easily, but not sure this is the way to go if I can get the trucking companies to come down for the shorter distance.   No one even suggested this new mill which makes me wonder but I should know more in a week or so.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2009, 06:54:36 am »
If your trucking any of that red pine, remember it's real heavy when green. It weights as much as hard maple when green in fact. Many loggers and truckers know this and some use this knowledge to their advantage. ;) So keep that in mind. Your tonnage figures are similar to what we use up here in NB. But we are metric, using a tonne that is 10 % heavier than a US ton. We use 2.27 tonne per cord aspen and 2.5 tonne/cord hardwood. In New Brunswick, most all private wood is sent through a local Forest Products Marketing Board who deduct a wood levy and pay the truckers from the scale on the agreed rate between trucker and owner. This was done because truckers complained about getting stiffed on their trucking. I think the trucking rates around here are near $35/cord. Our semi's haul typically around 12 cords a load or around 30 metric tonnes (hardwood). Some loads get up around 38 tonnes, but are not legal. Usually happens in the spring rush before road closures.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

'If she wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log.'
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Offline critter

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2009, 07:26:27 am »


     You said you where going to do your own logging do what you do
     we got the bright idea that we would save money by doing our
     own trucking if you dont have alot of money waste let the boys
     that truck do the trucking

Offline 4genlgr

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2009, 07:43:00 am »
going with the  closer mill will not nessarily get lower trucking   most truckers figure out what they need to run the truck (fuel, tires, etc)and pay themselfs, thats the "what i got to have to turn the key" factor.  say my X factor was $150 and i charged $10/ton to truck i'd need 15 ton to pay for the trip, if the load was 14ton i still take 150, if the load was get 160 out of the total check for the wood. so if you get a signifintly better price at the farther mill you might be ahead of the game. another factor is the weight of the wood big stight stuff weights better than little crooked tops and a combo of large and small stight fills in the air holes  air don't weight nothing so even though poplar can have 8-12 feet left over after 4in dia sometimes it not worth the effort. are you sending this wood long lenghts or 8 foot, because that real small stuff at 8ft is a real pain

you mentioned 25 cord per acre question  you making a field? :)  supect your cord/acre havest will be slightly lower to stay within the states guide lines

good luck

Offline ahlkey

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2009, 12:45:06 pm »
Thanks for the advice on Red Pine being heavier than Aspen.  I will be clear cutting the Aspen which if it comes out at 20 cords per acre that would be fine.  It is a mature site that was not cut 15 years ago so it might provide more but time will tell.  You are right on the local mill posssibly not being the best deal as the quotes from the larger mills farther away are better even with the trucking.  Everything will be cut to 100 inches and you are right that not a lot is gained on less than 4 inches.  Possibly I can send a few of those loads to the local pellet plant and everything else to the larger mills.  Definitely decided that I will go with experienced truckers.

Offline Gary_C

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2009, 01:31:22 am »
The conversion normally used here for Aspen is 4500 lbs per cord or 2.25 tons per cord. You can roughly estimate 12 cords per truck load, but that can vary a lot depending on the type of truck. Many self loading units will weigh 35,000 empty weight and can gross 90,000 lbs or more in the winter if they are 6 axle units.

That's quite an undertaking to cut, skid, delimb, cut to length, and stack 400-500 cords of Aspen. I don't know what type of equipment you have, but that's a lot of work. How many cords per day do you expect to process? You do know those truckers expect to have the wood neatly stacked roadside in a place they can easily get into, get turned around, load up, and get back out quickly. And you do know that with weight scaling you need to get that wood into the mill quickly or you will lose weight plus the mill will reject wood with dark ends that is older. 

I know from what you said that you must cut it now, but things are very tight right now with Aspen at those mills and it is hard to even get quota right now for delivery and the price is not good. Do you have a contract with the mill, a price and delivery time worked out? I know I submitted a request for Aspen quota for this quarter for way more than 500 cords and got a fraction of that. There was a lot of wood that was cut early last spring with hopes of getting quota later that is now not salable.

I had another logger in Minnesota that told me he can get a better price roadside for what he cuts from a trucker than he can get for delivery at a mill. Some of these truckers have deals and contracts with the mills that are better than most people can get.

And most of those mills will say they have a minimum top of 3-4 inches but actually take most anything you can cut that is 100 inches and reasonably straight and neatly trimmed. They just say that so you will not send them a load of skinny little poles from a not yet mature site.

And do you have a system in place for scaling and keeping track of truck loads?  Times are tough right now.  :)
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Offline chucker

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2009, 09:40:20 am »
! GEEZ!! hey gary, your letting the cat out of the bag.... thats more info then most of us can remember??? but all true,theres no easy money in todays market.. better have a back up plan in the wood works with prices the way they are.aspen here is worth more for the firebox.
respect nature ! and she will produce for you !!  jonsered 625 670  2159 2171/28"  efco 147 husky 390xp/28" .375... 455r/auto tune 18" .58 gauge

Offline Gary_C

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2009, 11:43:38 am »
better have a back up plan in the wood works with prices the way they are.aspen here is worth more for the firebox.

Can't get anyone here to burn Aspen in the woodstove. Both Aspen and Birch will rot faster than you will believe if you leave it lay on the ground, but make excellent firewood if you split it and keep it dry.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2009, 05:17:20 pm »
It's alright for kindling, but I wouldn't want to depend on keeping the house warm on it or go to town for more than a couple hours before feeding the stove. ;)

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline chucker

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2009, 06:54:36 pm »
 about 4 full cords of aspen and a couple of pine should do me for the winter. maybe a little less if i use the propane for backup. 1 good fill in the wood stove will last close to 8 hours and stay at 75 degs. even at 10 above .......
respect nature ! and she will produce for you !!  jonsered 625 670  2159 2171/28"  efco 147 husky 390xp/28" .375... 455r/auto tune 18" .58 gauge

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2009, 07:17:45 pm »
10 above? That ain't even cold. Try -25 below and your aspen. :D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

'If she wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log.'
Dirty Harry

Offline TessiersFarm

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2009, 07:59:40 pm »
Anyone who won't burn aspen, poplar, or any other wood just hasn't been cold.  If its what you got burn it.  I agree though 10 isn't cold.  As a matter of fact thats when I do burn poplar, just to take the chill off because we don't need steady heat.
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Offline chucker

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2009, 08:08:35 pm »
 ;D  thats true! not like -58 below that we had here once.... but for an overall common cold temp i wood pick 10 above for an average ...........  love that pople for these type of days, and have plenty of it.
respect nature ! and she will produce for you !!  jonsered 625 670  2159 2171/28"  efco 147 husky 390xp/28" .375... 455r/auto tune 18" .58 gauge

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2009, 08:11:53 pm »
Yes, mom's uncle always burnt it in the fall in a kitchen stove. Snap crackle and pop like Rice Krispies and you were out looking for another arm load. ;D

The biggest thing with the old codger was he had a truck, but hated to get it dirty and heaven forbid if a dent got on it from a stick of beech. No, he would get my uncle with his horse to haul it for nothing down to the house from the edge of the fields. If he wasn't a mean, tight wad, old fart he would have been hauling his own hardwood for the stove from way back on the lot. His grandson inherited that truck and totaled it within a month. :D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

'If she wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log.'
Dirty Harry

Offline ahlkey

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Re: Pulp Conversion
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2009, 12:57:13 am »
Gary, thanks for the good advice which are very important considerations.  I have a small Metavic log loader & trailer that can handle about 6 tons per load.  Access is on the outer edge of 80 acres and where good trails exist with only a small amount of extended winching required beyond 150 feet.  I will be stacking around an open 80 acre field where road access is straight and uncomplicated for trucking. 

It definitely will be a lot of work for this old body but I hope to move the pulp every week or every other week so nothing sits very long.   I would like to do 30-50 cords per week but have no deadline other than making sure nothing sits very long to avoid any weight loss. I work alone so this may be pushing it somewhat but time will tell.  At least by doing the cutting in November I should not have much weight loss.  I have talked to 4 mills directly and 3 out of the 4 will take the Aspen but the contract process is complicated for a landowner.  They all gave me good names of good truckers with existing contracts but two of the mills agreed to set me up as a vendor/supplier if I want to deal with them directly.   The conversion rates for Aspen given were pretty consistent at 4,600 (2.3) even though they sell by the ton.   I am pretty used to scaling as I have sold sawlogs for years and even have my own portable sawmill & Kiln, and with firewood alone I cut 100 hardwood cords a year.  However, this is my first pulp cutting but it does seem it should be easier than the hardwood selctive cuts I have done for years within a heavy mature forest.  The key here is the easy access and that everything will be clear cut.

Prices at the mill for Aspen/Red Pine here varied between $73 and as high as $91 dollars per cord.   Have received three offers from truckers who agreed to pay me under their contract and one in particular I worked with before on sawlogs.   One mill is a new pellet mill that just opened a few months ago.  Overall, I wish I could wait somewhat but I am already 2 years late on my required cut. Thoughts?