By FWi staff

OILSEED rape remained the best-performing combinable crop after another successful harvest, with reasonable returns and ex-farm prices of £160/t.

Other than potato producers, rape growers were among the few farmers to obtain decent values in what has otherwise been one of the worst years for incomes since the 1930s.

After the 1997 harvest, prices started at £135/t ex-farm, but those who had sold forward in April this season managed to obtain £140/t.

Producers had the opportunity to sell at a good profit this season, said John Duffy of Gleadell Banks.

But many held back, waiting for even better prices, and it is difficult to know exactly how much there is still left on farm, he added.

Despite the big harvest, prices were kept high this year by strong demand.

Oilseed trends, 1998

The first three months of the season saw record crushings, with a 26% rise in rape-oil exports and 1 million tonnes of seed.

Supply of oilseed is now adequate, but some buyers chasing palm oil are still having problems.

Poor weather in South-East Asia led to lower harvests, and palm oil remains in short supply.