Demand for sawdust rises as the board market drops

| Print |  Email
Tuesday, April 01, 2008

sawdust.jpg

STATEWIDE Prices have gone so haywire in the timber industry that Oregon loggers are selling perfectly good Western Hemlock and Douglas Fir logs to be ground into chips for pulp instead of processed into lumber.

“Usually we sell the lowest, cheapest product we’ve got for pulp,” says Randy Hereford, timber manager for Starker Forests in Corvallis.  “Now the board market is so weak that pulp is our best option.”

The precipitous drop in demand for home-building supplies has hit Oregon’s lumber producers hard. Western Oregon log prices fell by 19% between the fourth quarters of 2006 and 2007 and have slid 143% since their peak in 1993 when adjusted for inflation.  The latest casualty was the Weyerhaeuser plant in Junction City, which closed in March.

Meanwhile, the drop in lumber production has decreased the supply of wood chips and sawdust, and prices for those unglamorous commodities have shot up. According to the Wall Street Journal, the price of sawdust has quadrupled in the past two years, from $25 to $100 a ton. That’s bad news for businesses that buy large volumes of wood waste, such as farmers, horse trainers and nurseries. One would think it would be good news for producers of wood residuals, but Bill Putney, of Recycling and Processing Services in Salem, says he loses those gains to higher production and transportation costs from rising fuel prices.

“The money looks nice as it moves from your right hand to your left hand and then out the door,” says Putney, “but it’s just more money circulating. You’re handling more dollars, but you’re not making any more money.”                         

BEN JACKLET


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Photo Diary: Forest Grove Farmers Market

The Latest
Thursday, May 14, 2015
IMG 8469BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

There are more than 160 farmers markets in Oregon, contributing an estimated $50 million in sales, according to the Oregon Farmers Markets Association. We checked in on the Forest Grove market, which for several years has brought local produce and food vendors to Main Street in the center of town.


Read more...

Change at the pump?

The Latest
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
001thumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the U.S. that ban self serve gas stations. But these two holdouts may be ready to give up the game. New Jersey is considering legislation that would lift the state's ban on pumping your own gas. Oregon is considering smaller scale changes.


Read more...

Undersea Power

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Mike Morrow and Mike Delos-Reyes first came up with the idea of an ocean power device 23 years ago, when they were students at Oregon State University. They realized a long-held vision last summer, when their startup, M3 Wave, successfully launched the first ocean power device that works underwater.


Read more...

Credit Unions Perspective

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Gene Pelham, CEO of Rogue Credit Union.


Read more...

Intrepid reporter checks out ZoomCare rebrand

The Latest
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
dentistthumbPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Like all good journalists, OB editorial staff typically eschew freebies. But health care costs being what they are, digital news editor Jacob Palmer couldn't resist ZoomCare's offer of a three-in-one (cleaning, exam, whitening) dental office visit, guaranteed to take no more than 57 minutes. 


Read more...

Urban renewer

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
UnknownBY LINDA BAKER   

One year after he was appointed chair of the Portland Development Commission, Tom Kelly talks about PDC's longevity, Neil Kelly's comeback and his new role as Portlandia's landlord.


Read more...

Marijuana law ushers in new business age

The Latest
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
062315panelthumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS