My company is renovating a large plantation in the Dominican Republic. We will be cutting down ~300,000 old growth coconut trees and replanting with ~ 2 million cacao trees. We are interested in determining the value of the coconut trees. The wood is dense and quite beautiful when cut into boards. Can anyone help us calculate the board foot per tree and value?
If anyone could offer advice on:
- Setting up a portable saw mill (for example, we were looking at a Norwood MX34)
- How to sell the lumber
- Possible companies to partner with
I would be appreciative.
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor A:
The Dominican Repbulic protects their forest and is not one for large exports. The wood would have its best use in country. I have never seen a big demand for coconut wood or many things made from it. I do know over in Asia they use it like we do pine here. It is a pretty wood and clear and the outer part is harder than the inner part. In plantations they rotate the trees every 60 to 80 years. While there is a market for the logs, you should be making sure you can export them, but it does not seem like there is a high demand in the US since the bubble popped. You would best be sure about what the D.R. will let you do. Look at a satellite view of that island and you can see by the trees where the border is with Haiti. Haiti needs lots of lumber to rebuild if you can get into country.
The slabs can be made into charcoal and other waste used as mulch. I did a Google search and found a company in CA that is working with coconut wood and sales. Several companies over in Asia are selling it. There should be a market in country, but the price will be low, but a way to move product. Haiti would be a market and you might be able to get people in some of these earthquake relief deals to buy the lumber to assemble homes in the area effected by the disaster or one of the soon to be coming hurricanes.
Also you will have to look into kiln services as this is a hardwood and most uses will need drying and proper storage. General labor pool should not be a problem in country. I Googled but did not find any sawmills in the Dominican Republic, but am sure there are some there. While shipping may be higher, handling and taxes may be less to remove the logs from country and process in the US or somewhere else. I heard of some Indian ships that saw and dry onboard and deliver lumber to port.
But I think your plan of starting small instead of investing in a big circle mill or industrial sized double-cut band mill is a better idea than going full bore right off the bat. Because it's obvious you have much more work to do locating a market and figuring all the logistics than you do learning how to set up and use a band mill.
If you can't afford the 70K+ to set up a small scale milling operation (this loose estimate assumes you already have all the machinery to move the logs and the space to sticker the lumber) - if you don't have the out-of-pocket risk capital for even a trial operation - then you probably shouldn't try to market the lumber. Maybe just flip the logs to another mill already set up if you can find one that can sell the lumber themselves. Then focus your efforts on your cacao trees. I know chocolate is always popular in any economy, but I also know that more and more people are realizing the health benefits of extra virgin coconut oil. We eat it every day and love it. I can't imagine my diet without it now. I guess it obviously takes much longer to start getting a harvest from newly planted coconut palms than it does cacao trees.
Other considerations you need to make if you want to process the logs versus selling them as logs… How easy or hard is coconut lumber to dry? What is the percentage of loss with that species? Can it air dry enough to be marketable or does it need to be kiln dried ASAP? Does it need to air dry first but then also need to be finished off in the kiln? What bug issues does it have? Can they be made into timber and used for post and beam construction in Haiti and still meet code? Is the wood good for smoking meat, cooking with, and can any of the tree be used for making crafts that are sold to tourists?
I know those are probably not practical applications, I'm just using them as examples that you cannot overlook any possible uses for every single part of the tree right down to finding a use for the sawdust, because if you do this you'll have mountains of it. There's a lot of questions you have to answer before setting up even a small scale operation.
And I assume you've explored any possible government grants or zero-interest loans should you get to the point of needing to fund a large scale operation. Going into debt to process logs that you could otherwise flip would almost certainly be a bad idea because if you can market the processed lumber, so can a bigger mill already set up that you could sell the logs to and just be done with it.
I don't want to derail this thread but I can't help mention that all my doctors (my civilian MD, my endocrinologist, and my VA doctor ) told me I'd never be able to live without insulin, but I am almost off of it completely after years of diet and nutritional changes (and many hundreds of hours of research and experimenting), and I know for certain EVCO has played a role in my steady, yearly progress to some degree.
I've gone from an A1c of well over 13, which is certain limb-loss and premature death if you stay in that range very long, down to where my last one was of 7.2 - and all the while I've decreasedmy insulin intake from over 60 units a day at its peak, down to my current level of only 10 - 15 a day.
So if you have any coconuts still lying around, you might want to pencil a commercial sized blender into your future machinery purchases.