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So what's going to happen to the firewood market?

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I do remember the chap that runs Champfluerie Estate and the firewood business boasting to me that they now sell more softwood than hardwood and more in July and August when it's on offer than over winter. They are quite negative about hardwood on their website, and you see their little trucks out for delivery all year around.

 

I think it must be possible to educate the customers, but perhaps folk in Scotland are a touch more receptive to softwood?

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I tried to buy a few M3 of mixed hard and soft earlier this year - maybe April or May. I struggled to get calls returned, never mind a load delivered. Managed it in the end, in about July, once the chap had a pause in his fencing work. So it's not seasoned for as long as I'd like, but hopefully it'll be ok. I've got my.own more seasoned stuff to burn first.

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The summer we've just had would have been perfect for customers to finish off the drying of the wood at home, but I think part of the service is the fact that we deliver ready to burn firewood when it's required. Selling earlier in the year doesn't suit a lot of people and I for one don't want to reduce the cost for this service.

Softwood is the only way to go in my opinion, it's great stuff and predominantly all I burn at home.

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12 hours ago, Woodworks said:

If demand is crazy as it sounds I cant see softwood supplies lasting long either. with the likes of the Kent power station and endless smaller but not small biomass installation still going in this is all going to go tits up swiftly. I see loads of cleared felled sites but stuff all in the way of new planting going on. Something has to give IMO

" If demand is crazy as it sounds I can't see softwood supplies lasting long either"   EXACTLY !!!  'At the moment' the closest Biomass Stations are at Bournmouth, Southampton and there are several at Bristol. Even at those locations this is having a severe impact on softwood from the South West. I paid for 2 loads 2 weeks ago - 50T and found that it had all been taken up there and the worst of it, is that timber was 5 minutes from where I live. Of course you get the usual 'cock and bull story' and 'we'll get you some more out'.

Guess the level of impact that will be felt when they build the 1st Biomass Plant in the South West.

As one or 2 have said, relying on Firewood alone as an income is going to be high risk.

It all rather depressing for those of us who have spent years building up sizable businesses often at a loss in the early years.

Something is already giving - as some firewood retailers have already decided to pack it in.

If you are in a very affluent area then things could be less gloomy, but our retail prices will have to rise again next year without question.

Edited by arboriculturist

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7 minutes ago, richardwale said:

 

The summer we've just had would have been perfect for customers to finish off the drying of the wood at home, 

 

We know this, but...

 

Being pragmatic, timber prices will continue to rise until either firewood suppliers give up or customers stop buying. Something's going to have to change, more softwood usage, less supplier overheads on drying/storage, improved cash flow. I just can't see that the current practices are sustainable.

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Its a worrying situation because like most log suppliers we're fairly small but it makes up nearly 50% of our income.  So far this year we haven't managed to find any hardwood for sale. None of the local forestry businesses will sell because they have a logging business themselve. My only options are to buy imported logs or just find a regular job. Don't think I can climb tree's for much longer either, I keep injuring my knees.

Another question on my mind is what happens when the cofired power station have to stop burning coal.  Surely the situation can only get worse.

At the least the suns shining hey.

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5 minutes ago, Backpain said:

Its a worrying situation because like most log suppliers we're fairly small but it makes up nearly 50% of our income.  So far this year we haven't managed to find any hardwood for sale. None of the local forestry businesses will sell because they have a logging business themselve. My only options are to buy imported logs or just find a regular job. Don't think I can climb tree's for much longer either, I keep injuring my knees.

Another question on my mind is what happens when the cofired power station have to stop burning coal.  Surely the situation can only get worse.

At the least the suns shining hey.

I know of really established business been around for decades who can't get roundwood. If you haven't the capital to invest in large stocks when it does become available it's not sustainable. It seems that it comes along in large infrequent chunks and you need to be ready to buy as much as you can possibly afford when it does.       

 

If you live in an affluent area perhaps move into gardening, well paid on your own and far less stress and take on just the smaller tree works, they pay the best anyway. 👍

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5 hours ago, Gary Prentice said:

Do you, or anyone else, actually positively promote a change in your customers buying habits? 

yes done my best to get some customers to buy in the summer monthes by offering then the timber at reduced rates through may june  july and august but not many seem to bite ? why i dont know, may be its as they are going on holiday and havent got the money or its money they dont need to spend untill  the wood is really needed ? and trying to get some of them to change from just hardwood to either a 50/50 mix or just move to softwoods like larch and douglas  seems like a major task, they  tell me softwood is crap but when i do then a delivery the log store is half full of cut up pallets and fence posts which they tell me burn really well but a bit quick, i have left a small bag of larch with a few customers and asked then to burn it on its own and then i get phone call , them logs you left i used them last night they where fine burnt well plenty of heat and no ash what where they , larch i replied and this is a customer that has told me for years that softwood is crap now got him converted to 1 50/50 load and 1 load of larch/douglas ,

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