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South Carolina Stumpage Price Trends and Southern Yellow Pine Basics

June 9, 2022

Graph of SC Pulpwood Prices from Q2'21 to Q1'22.

Graph of SC Pulpwood Prices from Q2’21 to Q1’22.

Stumpage Price Trends: In the first quarter of 2022 (Q1’22), statewide pulpwood stumpage prices for both pine and hardwood continued an increasing trend that started in the second quarter of 2021 (Q2’21). The statewide pine pulpwood stumpage prices, on average, were $14.17/ton, which is a jump of 31% on a quarter-over-quarter basis and 34% on a year-over-year basis. Similarly, the statewide hardwood pulpwood stumpage prices, on average, were $14.30/ton, which is an increase of 13% on a quarter-over-quarter basis and 10% on a year-over-year basis. Some market analysts have attributed early rainfall events that would limit wet-weather timber harvesting as one of the reasons for the recent upward trend this year. Average pulpwood prices for both pine and hardwood in South Carolina have been performing relatively better than the long-term averages for the U.S. South. Click for the regional average graphs – http://www.timbermart-south.com/prices.html.

On average, statewide sawtimber stumpage prices in South Carolina were $24.83/ton for pine and $24.14/ton for hardwood trees in the first quarter of 2022 (Q1’22). The average pine sawtimber prices increased about 3% on a quarter-over-quarter basis while it increased over 5% on a year-over-year basis. Unlike pine sawtimber, the mixed hardwood sawtimber prices decreased about 1% on a quarter-over-quarter basis and had a 2% decline on a year-over-year basis. As shown in the figure below, sawtimber stumpage prices have recently fluctuated between highs and lows. Still, they have failed to gain from a recent surge in market prices for lumber and improving housing trends even if there has been an increase in sawmill production and lumber demand across the U.S. The stumpage market has been in an oversupply situation for quite some years.

Graph of SC Sawtimber Prices from Q2'21 to Q1'22.

Graph of SC Sawtimber Prices from Q2’21 to Q1’22.

Unlike average pulpwood stumpage prices across the South, both pine and hardwood sawtimber prices in South Carolina have been consistently lower; in particular, hardwood stumpage rates are significantly lower. South-wide regional averages for the hardwood sawtimber have been about $30/ton since 2014, but the statewide averages for South Carolina failed to reach that level during this period. This disparity with regional trends indicates that South Carolina’s stumpage market has some unique characteristics and subregional contexts.

Data credit: The sawtimber and pulpwood price data included in this newsletter are published with permission from TimberMart-South Athens, GA 30605 email tmart@timbermart-south.com.

Southern Yellow Pine Basics 

Question: What is Southern Yellow Pine? Why are there no individual price rates for different southern pines (ex. longleaf, shortleaf, or loblolly)? 

I recently received this interesting question about southern pine trees and have included this brief note to explain its market environment in this newsletter. I assume some of you might have heard the word SYP and wanted to know more about it.

All southern pines comprise a unique wood category and receive a standard stumpage price in the market. The main reason for considering all pines as a single commodity includes their properties and use primarily in residential and commercial construction. The word “Yellow Pine” refers to several pine species with similar wood strength and growing environment requirements. It is a blanket term that refers to a group of pine trees. In the Southern U.S., it refers to the four most common pine trees (Longleaf, Shortleaf, Slash, and Loblolly), while Jeffery or Ponderosa pine comprises this group in the Western region. Southern Yellow Pine is grown over 190 million acres from Texas to Virginia. While grading lumber, they are collectively referred to as “Southern Pine” or “Southern Yellow Pine (SYP).” These fast-growing pine trees produce unique wood in terms of strength, weight, impact resistance, and use. After treating with chemical preservatives, SYP logs are used for piling, utility poles, and decking. Likewise, a large amount of SYP is used for making pulpwood, plywood, and engineered wood products. SYP wood is produced in several grades and board sizes based on specific log characteristics such as knots, checks, and splits that determine its relative strength and appearance.

Author(s)

Puskar Khanal, Cooperative Extension, Forestry and Wildlife Specialist

This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement of brand names or registered trademarks by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied, nor is any discrimination intended by the exclusion of products or manufacturers not named. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. 

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