Selling your Timber

The last two years have seen unprecedented spikes in commodity prices including timber. Prices rocketed, and shortages emerged throughout the supply chain from pallet wood, through fencing timbers to construction timber.

The market is now settling back to something like normal but there is now strong evidence that the drive for sustainability and a low carbon economy is putting pressure on global supplies of timber and in particular spruce and oak.

Prices and demand for standing timber have been increasing steadily for a period of ten years now and parcels of standing timber can be worth significant amounts of money, even from smaller farm woodlands.

For many landowners selling timber can be a daunting prospect, it is something that happens infrequently, and they have little knowledge of the process.

Taking professional advice to structure the timber sale, run a tender process and then draw up a sales agreement is vital to ensure the timber sale delivers best value to the seller.

Two recent small timber sales locally highlight how professional advice can improve the return from timber sales.

  • A local forestry contractor contacted Stephenson’s Rural to help with a sale of five lorry loads of oak sawlogs that had been harvested from an estate woodland and needed to be removed before the adjacent fields were drilled.

The contractor was frustrated with the offers he had received from local merchants as he felt that the timber was of higher value than he was being offered. The parcel was listed on the Timber Auctions website and actively marketed to contacts throughout the UK. The offers received ranged from £112 per m3 to £252 per m3, the winning bid was more than double the previous offers.

  • A landowner approached for advice on how to generate some revenue from a 7.5ha woodland on a farm in South Yorkshire. The woodland was surveyed and marked for thinning, a felling licence obtained for 500 tonnes and a competitive tender run. The bids ranged from £15 to £35 per tonne, the contract is now complete and has generated £18,000 of tax-free income for the landowner.

Stephenson’s Rural offer professional advice on all aspects of forestry and woodland management.

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