Demand for sawdust rises as the board market drops

| Print |  Email
Archives - April 2008
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

The city as startup

Guest Blog
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
011415 citystartup-thumbBY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Startups in the growth phase are associated with a fresh infusion of capital — human and financial — a curiosity factor and products to disrupt the market and drive demand. Portland’s economy gives off the same aroma.


Read more...

See How They Run

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.


Read more...

Ski traffic

News
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
0121-skiway-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A place-based multimodal transportation plan for Mt. Hood is long overdue.


Read more...

Carbon Power

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Researchers in a multitude of disciplines are searching for ways to soak up excess carbon dioxide, the compound that contributes to global warming.


Read more...

Editor's Letter: Tortoise and the Hare

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015

The day after this issue goes to press, the city of Medford will host its annual business conference. The event features Minoli Ratnatunga, co-author of the Milken Institute’s annual “Best-Performing Cities” report. Preliminary data suggests that Medford is likely to retain its No. 1 ranking among best-performing small cities for having a higher concentration of high-tech firms than the national average. 


Read more...

Convention Wisdom

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

After more than a decade of wrangling, construction on a convention center hotel in Portland is slated to start this summer. But debate over project financing continues.


Read more...

5 schools helping students crack code

The Latest
Thursday, January 29, 2015
codeduthumbnailBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As the costs of college mount, and as employer demand for software developers soars, coding schools and classes are popping up everywhere.


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