Rapeseed yields down 15%

Oilseed rape harvest is progressing slowly further north, with yields about 15% lower than last year, at an average of 3.3-3.5t/ha.

“The UK crop is likely to be well below expectations, at 2.4-2.5m tonnes,” said Owen Cligg, trading manager at United Oilseeds.

Last year’s crop topped 2.8-2.9m tonnes, but the UK would still have a fair exportable surplus this season, he added.

“However, a lot of that could be moved before November as so much was sold forward.”

South of the M4, farmers had cut about 75% of their rapeseed, with around 40% done in Yorkshire and just 2% harvested in Scotland, said Mr Cligg.

Oil contents were two points lower than last year, at 41-45%, and there had been one or two issues with red seeds.

“As long as the seeds are yellow inside that should be alright. There have also been a few incidences of sclerotinia, and we had lots of reports of early lodging, which made the crops difficult to combine.”

Yields appeared to be best in the South East, with very variable results elsewhere, he added. “The early crops were cut at 5% moisture, with more recent ones coming in at up to 17%.”

Across the Channel, French and German rapeseed yields were better than expected, and the EU was likely to harvest about 19m tonnes – not far short of last year’s crop.

“But we still need to import about 3m tonnes from Ukraine or Australia, and we are not competitive enough to attract those imports yet.”

In the US, rain had eased some traders’ concerns about the soyabean crop, with the estimated condition improving by one point over the past week, to 30% rated good to excellent.

However, which it may have made a psychological difference to traders, it was probably still too little, too late, said Mr Cligg. 

Meanwhile, heavy rain in north west Ukraine had broken the recent drought, which would benefit recently sown rape seed and aid conditions for winter wheat planting.

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