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Southern Yellow Pine “Design Values”: Likely Impacts of Changes are Overstated

Amanda Lang recently presented an overview of timber markets and wood bioenergy demand at the Southeastern Society of American Foresters Meeting at Jekyll Island, Georgia.  Here is an excerpt specific to the topic of Southern Yellow Pine “Design Values”:

The Southern Pine Inspection Bureau (SPIB) recently issued new design values effective June 1, 2012. We have fielded multiple questions from clients regarding the new design values and the potential effects on Southern pine sawtimber markets. Here is our take on the situation and potential effects.

The situation: The changes only apply to visually graded Southern Yellow Pine lumber in No. 2 and lower grades for 2×2’s through 4×4’s. The new design values are 20-35% lower than previous values for four strength properties. This means that, at a high level, 2x2s through 4x4s produced from Southern Pine visually graded lumber are not rated as strong as they were previously. Design values for other grades will remain the same pending 2012 testing.

Potential effects: It is our view that the overall market effect will be minimal. We do not foresee substantive changes to the overall prices or market demand for Southern pine sawtimber, although we could see some changes in the types of lumber produced. Building designers/mill customers will ultimately dictate these effects. We see some shifting from visual graded lumber to machine graded lumber. Conversely, building designers may change designs to accommodate new design values (and still use visual grades). Individual mills that produce majority visual grade could be affected the most by these changes, but the specific effects will be determined by mill customers.

For more information, please contact Amanda Lang, ahlang@forisk.com.

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