Value of Harvesting Pine Straw to the Forest Landowner
Pine straw is a renewable resource that can be harvested each year in Texas, and you don't have to cut down the trees to collect it. This characteristic provides owners of pine plantations with a unique opportunity to realize regular cash flow and offset the long investment period necessary to grow trees to a merchantable size (e.g., pulpwood and sawtimber). In other words, landowners can earn income from their pine plantations for several years before the trees are harvested for pulpwood and sawtimber.
With wise management, pine straw can substantially increase return on the landowners forest land investment. Bales of pine straw are being sold retail for $5 to $10 per 25 to 50 pound bales of highly variable quality straw to landscapers, nurseries and garden centers.
Pine straw might also provide economic opportunity for marginal and poor quality forest land. That is, sites poorly suitable, or economically unproductive, for the sole production of wood fiber may provide reasonable economic return when a pine straw regime is implemented. Landowners may even manage the stand for the production of straw as the primary objective, and the production of wood fiber as a secondary objective.
Landowners have three choices when selling pine straw:
Leasing Land for Pine Straw
Two types of leases are written for leasing land for pine straw harvesting.
Regardless of the lease type, the landowners should be compensated on a sliding scale that graduates through time to higher values as sites become cleaner and easier to harvest.The bottom line is that pine straw harvesting in East Texas can be highly profitable for all parties involved if best management practices are followed.