By FWi staff

DELIVERED rapeseed soared £3.50 this week for pre-Christmas delivery as a Europe-wide shortage of sunflower seed boosted the value of other oilseeds. Ex-farm OSR prices climbed as high as £160/tonne in some areas of the UK.

January to March futures also received good interest, with prices climbing to £170/t delivered.

“Current prices should be particularly attractive to producers who are looking for movement early in the new year,” said Ian Wallis of Cargill plc. “This is because the Australian crop is due to hit the world market in January and is likely to have a negative impact on values.”

The higher seed prices prevented an improvement in crush margins, despite a strong demand for rapeoil and firmer meal prices, noted the Home-Grown Cereals Authority. “At these higher levels steady farmer selling was reported, but volumes have remained limited.”

Crushers on the continent have been forced to crush rapeseed for much longer than they first anticipated due to the lack of available sunseed, and this has helped to keep the rape market buoyant, said a spokesman for Gleadell Banks.

“Crushers margins remain tight, but as more sunseed from the Eastern bloc becomes available it is unclear how much up-side there is to this market,” he said.

Estimated EU rapeseed crushings for August to October stand at 2.8 million tonnes, compared to 2.5 million tonnes in 1997. The additional supply from this years record crop has therefore largely been absorbed; this was reflected in MATIF prices last week where rapeseed climbed to over DM10/tonne.

MAFF has now released its first 1998 UK rapeseed production estimate, projecting output at 1.564 million tonnes, compared to 1.527 million last year. Lower yields were offset by the increase in area sown.

UK linseed prices were also boosted this week, climbing £3/tonne. Logistical difficulties caused supply problems in Canada, and UK prices rose on the back of this.