Measuring standing timber

Asked February 26, 2020, 1:01 PM EST

Is it difficult to measure trees and something the average person can do.? I want to gather information on the trees I could sell. What should I take afield with me.? Would it require an assistant or can I do this alone? What information does a timber buyer look for?

Chippewa County Michigan

6 Responses

Thank you for contacting "Ask an Expert!"
It is possible for you to measure the standing timber in your woods. However, it is difficult and could take some time to perfect. The value of the standing timber is also dependent on the local markets.
I would recommend you contact your local Conservation District Forester, Dylan Parker.
His position is grant funded, and there is no cost to meet with him. He can provide you with an overview of how to measure standing timber, and the current markets. It's his job to help you take the right steps to accomplish your goals in your forest. Dylan can be reached directly at 906-635-1278.
If for some reason you have additional questions after contacting Dylan, please feel free to contact me again, and I can do my best to provide further assistance.
Thank you,

I did contact Dylan Parker and met with him at my property. However, I did not get any tangible information as what I was expecting. He wan't me to sign up to a program of which I had no interest. I thought I would receive some estimates of what I had for marketable logs but I did not. That is why I will need to attempt this on my own to give the buyers an idea as they ask me what's there. They don't seem to want to see for their self. Thank you anyway for your time.

I am sorry you didn't get the assistance you had hoped for. There are a couple of MSU Extension bulletins I'll share, perhaps they will help? I also recommend you hire a consulting forester to help you with a sale. Consulting foresters cost money, and that cost is usually made up for by the fact that they almost always also sell the timber for a higher amount than you might be able to. They will also handle the contract according to your goals/desires for the property. I would recommend serious consideration of hiring a consulting forester.
Finally, here is a link to the most recent stumpage reports published by the DNR. These could give you an idea of how the markets are fairing for different species of trees. It's from 2018, the most recent report published.,%206%20Months/Stumpage%20Report%2004-01-2018%20to%2009-30-2018.pdf
I hope you find this information helpful!
Thank you,

Thank you so very much for all this. You went above and beyond what I could ever hope for. I will by all means use these brochures. I can always count on Michigan State. ( I was MSU alumni for 2 years). Also, the Mason County Extension office director chose me to be on the Crops Committee which I was for 2 years. There were 10 farmers, each knowledgeable of their operations. Our goal was to try to help out the other 100 plus farmers in Mason County achieve better efficiency. Again Thank you. Randall Beard.

Thank you, Randall.
As you read through, please let me know if you have any questions. You can call or reply to this string.
Also, if you'd like to provide an email, I will let you know of any workshops where marking timber is addressed. I do know there is one in September in Wexford County (Cadillac), which is quite a drive for you. Perhaps there will be others in the UP. Keep an eye on this calendar (link below). Dylan is part of an extensive group of service foresters, and this is a link to their calendar of educational events.,4610,7-125-1599_28740_67240---m_2020_3,00.html
Wishing you all the best!

Dylan is a good guy but wants people to sign a contract to manage their forest. I'm not interested in doing this. Since I am not interested then I get no information. So I am going to attempt my own calculations of the logs that can be harvested. I guess he has no obligation to give insight for someone if the person won't agree to the program. This is how I take it any way.