Oilseed rape flowering in a field© Tim Scrivener

United Oilseeds will redistribute £340,000 between its trading members, delivering a profit of £1.21m in the year ending 30 June 2017, despite tough trading conditions.

The growers’ co-operative saw profits before tax drop 20% from £1.52m in 2016, but saw its net worth increase by 9.3% from £9.7m to £10.6m.

The organisation’s turnover fell marginally from £176m to £173m.

See also: Bigger turnover and profit for oilseeds co-op

“Despite very challenging trading conditions in 2016, these are an excellent and robust set of financial results for United Oilseeds and its members,” said managing director Chris Baldwin.

“Especially when bearing in mind that low average yields of 2.9t/ha at harvest 2016 negatively affected the volume of OSR handled by the company by an estimated 90,000t.

“In addition, a depressed OSR market at the time and the suspension of neonicotinoid seed treatments against flea beetle combined to discourage some farmers from planting OSR.

“At harvest 2016, the rapeseed area planted fell to its lowest for five years, at 563,000ha, from a peak of 758,000ha in 2012.”

United Oilseeds also made a significant long-term investment in a comprehensive IT system during the financial year.

Profit share

It is the twelfth consecutive year that trading members will benefit from a profit-share redistribution.

Over that time, farmers have shared nearly £4.2m.

The money each farmer receives in any one year relates to the level of business they have done with the co-op in the previous 12 months.

The co-op has about 4,500 members and trades with at least 2,000 of these annually.

Pool performance

United Oilseeds has the largest tonnage of oilseed rape under pool management in the UK.

Growers in the Carte Blanche pool were paid a base price of £340.01/t before quality bonuses.

“If you include average quality bonuses, members of the United Oilseeds Carte Blanche pool for harvest 2016 received £367.32/t for their oilseed rape,” said Mr Baldwin.

The company also traded 64,000t of other commodities, including, beans, linseed, oats and peas.

It expects the UK planted area of oilseed rape for harvest 2018 to be 603,000ha (up 7.07% on harvest 2017) which is likely to result in an expected production volume of 2.1m tonnes.