The impact of improved genetics from the University of Minnesota Duluth Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) hybrid poplar breeding program on breakeven hybrid poplar wood prices is discussed in this paper. After a review of previous economic analyses, the breakeven prices are presented that would cover costs other than land rent. Then, factors are provided for adjusting the price to reflect the land rental rate for a given location. The breakeven prices are presented both as stumpage and delivered to a mill. Breakeven delivered prices include the stumpage values plus conventional harvest and transportation costs to a hypothetical processing plant. Breakeven land rental rates are also provided at which poplar production would be profitable at recent aspen stumpage prices.
The analysis is based on a scenario where a biorefinery/bioproducts company owns and/or leases the land, controls the harvest and transportation of the wood, and delivers the wood to their own mill. The evaluation is based on two hybrid poplar annual growth increments: 3.6 dry tons and 5.4 dry tons per acre per year with a 9-, 10-, or 12-year rotation. 3.6 dry tons per acre per year is yield potential with current genotypes. 5.6 tons per acre per year is yield potential with new Gen 1.0 elite clones from our breeding. Stumpage prices without land cost included are lower than aspen stumpage prices for both unimproved and improved clones. Other things being equal, the improved genetics could be capitalized into a $36.37-per-acre increase in the financially permissible rental rate. Carbon credit markets could further improve returns on hybrid poplar plantations.
USDA-NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts Challenge Area
(Grant No. 2018-68005-27635/Project Accession No. 1015244)
Lazarus, William F; Nelson, Neil D; Jackson, Jeffrey; Berguson, William E; McMahon, Bernard G; Buchman, Daniel; Cai, Meijun.
Comparison of hybrid poplar wood breakeven prices as affected by current and improved genetics.
University of Minnesota Duluth.
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