By FWi staff

THERE was little activity in UK rapeseed markets for a second week running as farmers remained reluctant to sell at current prices.

However, a large amount of rapeseed was traded pre-harvest, said Kevin Bantick of Dalgety Agriculture. He estimates that there is about 35% of the crop still on farms to be marketed. “The price has reached £160/t ex-farm in some areas, and if producers havent sold some since this recent rise it might be advisable.”

Tight domestic supplies and a boost in Chicago soyabean futures raised prices a further £1 to £165/t delivered this week. Futures prices for after Christmas are now about £168/t delivered. This compares with £174/t for the same period in 1997, and £187/t in 1996.

Prices have also been pushed up in the EU recently, and UK rapeseed is reported to be about the cheapest in Europe.

The US Department of Agriculture released its October crop report yesterday (Tuesday) confirming a similar forecast to October. This months prediction now stands at 2.763 billion bushels compared to 2.769 in October.

This latest report took the market by surprise, said James Read of Glenkore Grain. “This has boosted soya prices and should filter through to the rapeseed market.”

Mr Read does not, however, expect prices to get carried away.

Exports are not flowing as they did during harvest, Noted Mr Read. “Demand is good on paper in the Far East, but theres no third country trade. The UK is said to have done business with Australia, and imports are expected after Christmas.”

“Weve seen a good increase in prices,” said Mr Read. “But dont expect miracles. Although demand is strong there is a large crop in the USA. Plantings are high throughout Europe and I would think that we could have a record EU crop next year.”