Harvest-Ready Message More Important Than Ever

Conditions in the forestry sector are now such that forest owners with near-mature timber need, more than ever, to be Harvest-Ready. We know that the log market is volatile (see log price chart elsewhere in this Newsletter). We know that harvest levels have decreased (down 11% year on year) and logging contractors have left the industry. We know that mature timber standing inventory is building up.

What we also know is that when the market improves there will be a run on logging contractors and those that aren't Harvest-Ready will have to go on a waiting list. It could well be that by the time a logging contractor is available, the market has turned.

So what is being Harvest-Ready all about:

  • Having a harvest plan with access and consent issues resolved.
  • Main roads and landings constructed.
  • A timber inventory so you know what you have to sell and how much it should be worth.
  • An idea of sales method.
  • A harvesting and marketing management agreement in place. This will allow us to schedule the harvesting and marketing of the woodlot.

"If forest owners want to get the best returns, they have to understand the value of being able to programme their volume into the best market channels", says Peter Weblin, PF Olsen's Marketing Manager. "For example, the containerised shipping initiative is only possible if sufficient volume can be committed to enable the log exporter to make the investment in infrastructure to store and stow and logs and establish sales channels - this all takes time and money."

"Having volume scheduled doesn't mean a forest owner has to accept any old price", adds Weblin. "They are still in control of the final decision to harvest. If the market falls over, the sensible option may be to suspend harvesting (or not commence as the case may be)."

Many forest owners focus on trying to predict the market (something beyond their sphere of influence), and neglect attending to the most valuable thing they can influence and which can significantly improve harvesting returns - getting Harvest-Ready.