By FWi staff

OVER 50% of the UK rapeseed crop has been harvested, although values remain depressed with little sign of an early upturn.

Harvest pressure, currency and weaker international markets pushed UK rapeseed prices even lower last week as harvest values reached £108.50/t delivered to Liverpool, noted the Home-Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA) in its weekly Mi Oilseeds bulletin.

Elsewhere in the country ex-farm prices are still below £100/t. Growers are unwilling to sell at these values and most of the harvest has gone into store.

But at some stage European producers will need to offer stocks to the market, and the danger is that when this happens prices will move even lower, said Cargills Ian Wallis.

“Growers who need to move rapeseed over the next few months are therefore advised to look closely at todays levels to avoid any further erosion in prices brought on by a delayed wave of farmer selling,” he added.

Despite this lack of movement off-farm, a tight supply situation is not anticipated in the near term, said a spokesman from the HGCA.

“More industrial rapeseed, which is produced on a contract basis, is currently being crushed.”

The prospect of an early recovery for rapeseed values remains slim on the back of the expected bumper UK harvest.

Industry analysts estimate an extra 20,000ha were planted for this harvest. Coupled with high carryover stocks from last season, this suggests there could be more rapeseed than there is demand.

Initial harvest reports indicate better yields and oil content than in 1998, although yields have been varied.

Top yields have been recorded at about 5t/ha, while at the other end of the scale, yields of 2.5t/ha have been noted.