“Valuable wood lives up to its name” was the conclusion and the headline of a press release from the Bavarian State Forest (Bayerische Staatsforsten) in which the results from a recent timber auction were reported. Results – timber prices that a Swedish forest owner only can dream of.

Timber auction by Bavarian State Forest brought record prices

Recently we wrote about that Sweden has the lowest timber prices in Europe. In Sweden, a forest owner can count on getting an average price per cubic meter for spruce conifer timber of 60 – 70 € (Euro). The highest price for comparable assortments in Europe is approx. 125 €.

Here we are talking about normal sawlogs. But to make it even more difficult for the Swedish forest owners to sleep at night, we have the auctions, e.g., those in Bavaria mentioned above, where single logs and stems of excellent quality are sold to the highest bidders.

Timber auction by Bavarian State Forest brought record prices

A nice row of logs in Litzendorf.
Photo: Bayerische Staatsforsten

261 € per cubic meters for Norwegian spruce

At the auction in Litzendorf, Bavaria, Germany, on the 18th of January 2022, the average price for spruce timber was 261 € per cubic meter. The span was 100 to 368 €. Pine logs were paid between 100 – 231 € per cubic meters and larch between 106 – 600 €.

The average price of the whole auction was 287 €/cubic meter which was a record. The highest price was for larch with 600 €/per cubic meter. The total volume that was sold during the auction was about 1 300 cubic meters.

At another auction held by Bavarian State Forest in Waging am See, Bavaria, 475 hardwood stems, or 481 cubic meters were sold. Also, here records were broken. “The Bride”, the most valuable stem at the auction, was an oak stem, 5,2 meter long and 1,15 meter diameter = 5,4 cubic meters solid wood, rendered a price of 4 244 €. That is 786 € per cubic meter.

Timber auction by Bavarian State Forest brought record prices

“The Bride” of Waging am See herself.
Photo: Bayerische Staatsforsten

Dream timber

As everybody understands this is not normal timber. It´s a selection of very special stems that are collected during a long time and brought to an auction site to be sold. It should not be compared to the type of auctions that e.g., the Estonian State Forest holds, where bulk volumes are sold that we wrote about recently.

It´s interesting though, how selecting single stems and transporting them to an auction site can be so profitable. We don´t have so many thick old trees in Sweden. We cut them down in the 60’s and 70’s to make place for “industry adapted” forests. But there still are single trees here and there that could be valuable.

Those trees are more or less forbidden to fell, but it happens for different reasons. The funny thing is that when such trees actually are being felled, they have no, or very low, value because our industry can´t handle them. In best case you can sell such stems or logs to special sawmills who are working with e.g., flooring or interior. But the price you get for them is not even close to the prices on the auctions mentioned above.

Time to let the timber hit the road?

It´s approximately 1 500 kilometers from south Sweden to Bavaria. If you happen to have an oak log like “The Bride” here in Sweden: Would it pay off to bring it down there to sell? I’ve never heard of anyone doing something like that but it seems interesting to me.

Maybe it´s time to hit the forest to look for “brides”?