Current issue: 53(4)
Seasonal variation in the sawmill industry of Finland was studied in an investigation based on questionnaires answered by a random sample of sawmills concerning the time period of 1958-1960. The method is described in detail in a separate article in Acta Forestalia Fennica issue 75 no. 1.
The seasonal variations in purchase of roundwood was largest in big sawmills, which purchase the main part of the timber as standing sales and buy most of the wood from the State Forest auctions at the end of September. Also, they can afford to reserve their material earlier than the smaller companies. The saw logs are mainly felled in the winter in Finland because the climatic conditions and availability of labour are best at that time. Small sawmills begin fellings a little earlier than the larger ones.
In long-transport of timber the proportion of floating decreased from 47% in 1958 to 38% in 1960. At the same time, proportion of truck transport increased from 48% to 55%. Small sawmills use almost exclusively land transport. They received almost three-fourths of their logs between January and May, because the sawing is concentrated in the first half of the year. Therefore, floating does not suit for their transport method. The larger the sawmill, the later is the seasonal peak of log deliveries. The output of the big sawmills is distributed more evenly thoughout the year. The smaller the sawmill, the quicker is the turnover of raw material and the smaller the sawlog inventories.
The seasonal variation in output is sharper at small sawmills where sawing is concentrated in the first half of the year. The seasonal peak of the early spring is due to the aim at getting the sawn wood to dry early enough for shipments in the summer. Air drying takes an average of 4 ½ months. Kiln drying is more common at the larger sawmills, and gives them more flexibility. Due to the large seasonal variation in operation, the capacity of the small mills is poorly utilized. Domestic sales of sawn wood levels up the seasonality of the deliveries. Export sales are concentrated at the end and turn of the year. Also, the seasonal peak of expenditure occurs in the winter, but that of income in the summer.
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