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Author Topic: Forest owner needing advice  (Read 1432 times)

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Offline MonsterMaul91

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Forest owner needing advice
« on: December 03, 2017, 08:43:10 am »
New to the forum and my first post. I am the fourth generation owner of a 90 acre woodlot property in NY. The responsible management and long term health of the woodlands on the property is very important to me. My deep attachment to the property began when I was a boy working with my late father in the woods who logged in the summer and on weekends when he wasn't teaching. At 12 yrs old I was skidding logs out with my dad's dozer and taught how to scale a log. That was 35 yrs ago and while I am proficient in the woods and know my way around a chainsaw (used to work for Husqvarna), I am not a logger nor am I as knowledgeable as a trained forester or timber buyer.
A few years ago I hired a local forester to draw up a forest management plan for my property in an effort to take advantage of significant tax breaks offered by the state. The forester has done a good and comprehensive job cataloguing the trees by species and type and I am happy with his work thus far. The property is coming due for its' first harvest in 2018 according to the management plan he laid out and he has introduced me to a logger he says will take good care of my woods (I do not want my property left looking like a war zone). Logger is a one man operation with a small skidder. I should note that my property is generally flat with a few wet spots to cross and no pulls longer than 1/2 mile to the header - most pulls more in the 1/4 mile range. Property has an extensive trail network already in place that will allow access to most trees without building new trails. Property is near main roads and no more than 20 minutes from pulp mill. Logger's yard is 25 minutes from property as well.
I am having trouble understanding the payment/fee structure laid out by the forester/logger and was hoping for some perspective from some of the experienced members of this forum. As a disclaimer, I am not looking to "nickel and dime" the logger here - I know how hard they work and that they have to make a living. Just want to make sure the agreement is fair all the way around. To give an idea of what's on the property:

Soft Maple: 23 MBF
Hard Maple: 2.5 MBF
Red Oak: 33 MBF
Ash: 2.2 MBF
Yellow Birch: 1.5 MBF
Hemlock: 140 cords
Damaged trees marked to come out for firewood: 90 cords
Hardwood tops/firewood: 65 cords

Some of the oak and maple will grade out as veneer - not sure how much.

Proposal is to pay logger $200/MBF as scaled by the log buyer. Also, I am to pay logger $35/cord for all firewood/pulp skidded out to the header. I can either keep the firewood or I can sell firewood to the logger for $15/cord (thereby locking in a $20/cord "loss" on my firewood). Additionally, logger will pay $15/cord for Hemlock pulp (unless it opens up better quality) - also locking in a $20/cord "loss" on my Hemlock.

When my father passed 12 yrs ago, a logger acquaintance of his took advantage of my distraction at the time and screwed me on a different piece of property nearby, so I am more than a little cautious as I prepare to enter into an agreement with another logger. I have the equipment and ability to harvest all the firewood trees/tops myself and am considering that option because this just does not seem like an equitable deal on the firewood/pulp part. Any thoughts or input is much appreciated - thank you.

Offline maple flats

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2017, 09:15:28 am »
Before you hire that or any logger, go look at 3 of his recent harvests. Talk with the woodlot owners. Did he do what was agreed upon?
I suggest if you are going to cut any trees yourself, even cutting tops from where they fell, go take the "Game of Logging" courses 1 and 2.
When I took it, I had been cutting firewood for about 35 years and believed I knew how. I learned more in those two courses, 1 day each, than I had in my 35 yr.+ experience.
If you have the equipment and time, doing the firewood part yourself is good. While soft maple makes rather low grade firewood, I suggest to process that first, it degrades real fast on the ground, the oak can wait (even for years if need be). The oak will make premium firewood, especially if aged 2 years split and stacked.
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Offline Corley5

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2017, 09:25:17 am »
  You're expected to pay him $35.00 a cord to pull the hardwood pulp?  I'd leave it where lays.  We pay around $10.00 per cord for hardwood pulp stumpage.  There's no charging the landowner to extract it and then buying it from them at their loss.  Sounds fishy to me.  I'd shop around to other loggers.  See what other offers are out there.  I'm always suspicious of a forester that has a pet logger and vice verse :-\
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Offline WDH

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2017, 11:36:18 am »
Does not sound right to me either. 
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Offline maple flats

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2017, 04:56:25 pm »
I believe when a forester has only one logger they recommend, that they don't have your interests at the top of their list. They might be friends, or related or might even be getting kick backs.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed,  Peterson ATS upgraded to WPF mill, maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline MonsterMaul91

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2017, 05:42:28 pm »
I greatly appreciate the feedback and suggestions. I am in Gansevoort NY (15 minutes north of Saratoga). Will make arrangements to speak to some of the logger’s recent landowners and look at their property if possible. May also reach out to a local sawmill I know for suggestions on other loggers I could have bid on the work. I know what firewood goes for in these parts and have split my fair share ( hence my username) - no way I’m letting it go for minus $20/cord. Also appreciate the Game of Logging suggestion - I used to work with some of those guys when I was at Husqvarna but am admittedly “rusty” and think it would be time well spent to go through that training again. Looks like an outfit named ProCuts handles that training here in NY.

Online John Mc

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2017, 06:57:18 pm »
I believe when a forester has only one logger they recommend, that they don't have your interests at the top of their list. They might be friends, or related or might even be getting kick backs.

I agree that there is some danger of that sort of thing. Or it could be that your forester recommends him because he's a good fit for your size job, and he knows that he does a good job.  I'm not saying to go with him or not, just to keep in mind that doing a good job often takes more time and effort than doing a poor one.

Personally, before I'd pay someone to haul firewood out of my forest and take it away, I'd haul it out what I and my friends needed myself and leave the rest to rot and return nutrients to the forest floor. But then I enjoy spending some time doing that sort of thing.
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Offline Gary_C

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2017, 08:33:49 pm »
Proposal is to pay logger $200/MBF as scaled by the log buyer. Also, I am to pay logger $35/cord for all firewood/pulp skidded out to the header. I can either keep the firewood or I can sell firewood to the logger for $15/cord (thereby locking in a $20/cord "loss" on my firewood). Additionally, logger will pay $15/cord for Hemlock pulp (unless it opens up better quality) - also locking in a $20/cord "loss" on my Hemlock.


That's the most one sided logging proposal I've ever seen. Absolutely no risk for the logger, just cut it up and collect his money.

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Offline Ron Scott

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2017, 09:24:35 pm »
Doesn't sound right to me either. Never heard of such a payment deal.

Have your forester appraise your individual species volumes by products for removal and solicit bids from reliable commercial timber producers in your procurement area. The forester should also manage the harvest on through to completion to insure the desired performance under the terms of a timber harvesting contract . 

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2017, 09:32:55 pm »
Whats your seasoned split delivered local firewood market paying? $225/cd or so?

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2017, 09:55:02 pm »
BargeMonkey may be able to give you some input, he is a coupe of hours south of you and moves a lot of firewood.  As far as the finances of that deal, I agree with the others, it is not a good deal at all.  The $200 / MBF makes no sense to me, maybe I am missing something, but where is the incentive for the logger to cut your logs to the best grade?  Just as an example, if you have a ply log 8'6" market that pays $400 / MBF and a tie log buyer that pays $275/MBF in 18' logs why would he make the extra cut just so you can pocket the difference? He makes the same money no matter where the logs go.  I would shop around. 
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Offline lopet

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2017, 10:08:06 pm »
Just for comparison, around here it's around $ 125-145 MBF Canadian for cut and skid, yes 200 is a little steep, but then again  I have no idea about the operating costs down your way.
On the other hand $ 35 per cord skidded to the landing, I think isn't all that bad.
I now and then buy hardwood logs trucked in my yard for $ 120 per cord. With doubling my money by processing and delivering I just make enough money to stay in the business. That's all there is.

@ Corley  I quit paying for stumpage or thinning jobs many years ago, but I am still getting standing trees offered to me.
Costs of harvesting have gone up and there is less or sometimes no money in it for the landowner, that's just the way it is. I know, most people don't care about wood rotting on their lots, especially when they live 100 miles away, but there is some who like their woods proper managed and the trails maintained and don't care so much about the revenue.
Although I haven't found a landowner who's paying me to do the work.  ;D   
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Offline Skeans1

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2017, 11:31:36 pm »
This might help, I'm out on the other coast but I'm accredited and would recommend it if the program is anything like what we have for Oregon.
http://www.newyorkloggertraining.org/Home/LoggerSearch

Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2017, 05:57:33 am »
Pay off the forester and find your own logger. Just cut what you have to be in line with the tax thing, Go slow the trees are not going nowhere.
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Offline coxy

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2017, 06:48:03 am »
 peter most of the time they only give you a year to get the logs/firewood cut after being marked under the tax law        I under stand why people go in the tax program but on the other hand  don't under stand why they would let the state have control of there property the state tells you what you can and can not do with it     what every you do don't even think about making a food plot or2 with out calling them and asking permission  ::)  trust me  :-X so they can take that piece of land off and make you pay full tax on it   I would some how find a way to pay the taxes if I had a large piece of land 

Offline bill m

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2017, 07:04:31 am »
I agree with others that $200/MBF is high for flat ground and a short skid.
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Offline Corley5

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2017, 07:49:13 am »

@ Corley  I quit paying for stumpage or thinning jobs many years ago, but I am still getting standing trees offered to me.


  Cutting hardwood pulp with a chainsaw is a hard way to make $$$$.  There's only one crew that I'm aware of in this country that still does it on a large scale business.  He's got a couple older forwarders along with rough bunch of cutters and short stackers.  Most thinnings on private smaller grounds around here are no more than high grades because it's not feasible to hand cut the pulp or move CTL machines in for small jobs. 
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2017, 08:30:30 am »
Ill agree with corley.  I cant even accept free pulpwood unless its delivered to my house.  Theres a pile at the end of the road on a clearcut that the owner has been asking me to haul off.

Not until he brings me fuel or the money for it.

Offline coxy

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2017, 05:12:16 pm »
I said it in other post I wont work for any less than 200athousand ill go on government assistance first  ;D

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Forest owner needing advice
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2017, 10:18:21 pm »
I believe when a forester has only one logger they recommend, that they don't have your interests at the top of their list. They might be friends, or related or might even be getting kick backs.

This.  Heck, I am a forester, but not full time, and I also buy timber and manage woodlots.  We do it all because we want things done that most loggers won't do (get black locust out, etc).  However, I am conflicted and my landowners know it.  I'm bididing against another logger on a client property.  My bid is based on 100% cruise of all the walnut on the property that's spread over 300 acres.  Maybe I mis estimate some of the trees but I am sure I've seen 99% of them.  This logger would not even go look at some of the stands (spread over pastures).  The point being, I don't mind competition because I am sure I am paying the right price and that my prices is better.

So, if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck..it's a duck.  You are pushed to a logger who will take care of you..and the contract looks terrible.  You need a new forester and a new logger.