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Controlled burning price

1881 Views 8 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  jkm
Can anyone give me a ball park price per acre for a controlled burn? It is several hundred acres and there is a firelane all the way around it. Half of it is new cutover (to be handplanted this winter) and half is 20 yr old newly thinned plantation. I plan to make smaller quadrants and do the burning myself next time, but not comfortable with it the first go round.
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The cutover burn will be a site prep burn. Site prep burning will run $25-$40 per acre. The plantation burning will run $18-$40. I know that's a broad range, but lots of factors come in to play.
The cutover burn will be a site prep burn. Site prep burning will run $25-$40 per acre. The plantation burning will run $18-$40. I know that's a broad range, but lots of factors come in to play.
Thanks for the info. Could you elaborate on some of those factors. We are clear cutting some areas that were heavily damaged in Katrina and the regeneration has not happened like we had hoped. The logging company we have working is cutting our fire lanes and will run a dozer through them to have them in shape for us to cut and disk as needed for future burns. Can you make any other suggestions that would bring the price of the burns down while we have the equipment on site. We originally were going to rake the cutovers into rows, but our logger has indicated tha a burn would be sufficient for the hand planting this winter. Our goal is to greatly improve this property in terms of wildlife and aesthetics. Cost is always a factor,but in this case there is money that needs to be spent ths year that will not be available in the future.
Last I had burned was $25 an acre. That was mostly first thinned pines. Had some fire lanes already on some sides and they had to push some lanes with the dozer.

Tracts I have that were raked leaving rows of piles left strips through the property without trees where the piles were.

You may be planning on spraying but you have not mentioned that. I'd certainly do an Arsenal spray on the clear cut area and maybe even in the recently first thinned areas. A "mid-rotation release" spray in those thinned pines can greatly improve the wildlife habitat while removing competition to the pines also.
Size of the burn unit is a major factor. Roads and houses determine needed wind direction and sometimes multiple burn days are needed. If two days are needed to complete the unit, your cost just doubled. Contractors are limited in the number of burn days per year, so each burn day has to produce a minimum amount of income for the contractor to survive. You will be looking a fees of about $2000-$3000 per day, no matter if production is 40 ac or 200 ac.

I'm not sure if would be basing my forest investment on the advice of a logger. I would seek the advice of a forester. A simple visit by the county forester may be all that is needed to confirm you are getting good advice form the logger.
Size of the burn unit is a major factor. Roads and houses determine needed wind direction and sometimes multiple burn days are needed. If two days are needed to complete the unit, your cost just doubled. Contractors are limited in the number of burn days per year, so each burn day has to produce a minimum amount of income for the contractor to survive. You will be looking a fees of about $2000-$3000 per day, no matter if production is 40 ac or 200 ac.

I'm not sure if would be basing my forest investment on the advice of a logger. I would seek the advice of a forester. A simple visit by the county forester may be all that is needed to confirm you are getting good advice form the logger.
I agree. The logger is a reputable guy and family friend. His way of thinking was that if you were going to hand plant there would not be much benefit to raking the cutover that a burn between now and planting would be sufficient. I am torn between spending the money to clean up the mess or just plant it and let the debris left after the burn rot.
Last I had burned was $25 an acre. That was mostly first thinned pines. Had some fire lanes already on some sides and they had to push some lanes with the dozer.

Tracts I have that were raked leaving rows of piles left strips through the property without trees where the piles were.

You may be planning on spraying but you have not mentioned that. I'd certainly do an Arsenal spray on the clear cut area and maybe even in the recently first thinned areas. A "mid-rotation release" spray in those thinned pines can greatly improve the wildlife habitat while removing competition to the pines also.
I read the half-life of arsenal is about 140 days. Can you tell me the benefit of spraying the cutover. Does "mid rotation release" mean it stays in the soil for a longer period of time. I guess what I am asking is once the arsenal stops working the newly planted trees will still only be seedlings so won't the cutover growth come back fairly quickly around them until they pop through? Or do you spray annually?
I read the half-life of arsenal is about 140 days. Can you tell me the benefit of spraying the cutover. Does "mid rotation release" mean it stays in the soil for a longer period of time. I guess what I am asking is once the arsenal stops working the newly planted trees will still only be seedlings so won't the cutover growth come back fairly quickly around them until they pop through? Or do you spray annually?
First let me make clear that I am not a Registered Forester. I am a landowner that believes in consulting with a forester when making major timber decisions. I have attended seminars on wildlife habitat improvement and like to combine habitat improvement with good forestry practices. So, I invite correction from the foresters on here if I get something wrong.

A release spray is most usually done to give the young trees a few years head start over competition. The young pines will be planted thick and if they can get ahead of the competition they can keep it shaded out until a first thin. If the area you are preparing to plant had lot of undesirable competition it will likely come back strong unless you do something to knock it back. Things like sweet gum will come back from the roots, often in clusters rather than just one trunk. The mid-rotation release is referring to spraying at about the mid-life cycle of the trees, usually after a first thin. Thinning allows light in and competition starts to grow. If you did a release spray when the pines were young you may not have too many hardwoods and may be able to control with an occasional burn. If you have a mid-story of undesirable hardwoods that can serve to block out the light from reaching the forest floor restricting the growth of desirable browse which also provides wildlife cover. Fire may be enough to control small hardwoods after a first thin without the use of chemicals. It depends on how big the hardwoods are.

You do not spray annually, just once in the beginning and maybe again after a first thin. A burn about every 3 years through the thinned pines may be enough to control small hardwoods.
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First let me make clear that I am not a Registered Forester. I am a landowner that believes in consulting with a forester when making major timber decisions. I have attended seminars on wildlife habitat improvement and like to combine habitat improvement with good forestry practices. So, I invite correction from the foresters on here if I get something wrong.

A release spray is most usually done to give the young trees a few years head start over competition. The young pines will be planted thick and if they can get ahead of the competition they can keep it shaded out until a first thin. If the area you are preparing to plant had lot of undesirable competition it will likely come back strong unless you do something to knock it back. Things like sweet gum will come back from the roots, often in clusters rather than just one trunk. The mid-rotation release is referring to spraying at about the mid-life cycle of the trees, usually after a first thin. Thinning allows light in and competition starts to grow. If you did a release spray when the pines were young you may not have too many hardwoods and may be able to control with an occasional burn. If you have a mid-story of undesirable hardwoods that can serve to block out the light from reaching the forest floor restricting the growth of desirable browse which also provides wildlife cover. Fire may be enough to control small hardwoods after a first thin without the use of chemicals. It depends on how big the hardwoods are.

You do not spray annually, just once in the beginning and maybe again after a first thin. A burn about every 3 years through the thinned pines may be enough to control small hardwoods.
Great in-sight. i appreciate the info. I actually have had the county forester and a private forester look at our place the last couple of years and have gotten some conflicting ideas on some things. The logger we use is a very reputable guy and some of his ideas also make sense. This place has not been managed very well and it is time to make some decisions. Thanks again.
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