Argentine drought drives high oilseed rape prices

Oilseed rape markets have jumped again, reaching their highest level since mid-September.

Continuing concern about dry weather in Argentina, combined with the weakness of the pound, had driven ex-farm values up by almost £6/t over the past week, to around £386/t ex-farm on Wednesday (6 February). That was £30 higher than at the turn of the year and £25/t above the same time last year.

“Chinese soyabean demand continues to be strong and China is reported to have so far bought 1.35m tonnes of US soyabeans for delivery in the 2013-14 marketing year,” said a report by HGCA. “Canadian farmers are also expected to reduce canola plantings by 10% on last year, to 7.7m hectares, in favour of wheat.” Reasons for the reduction in plantings included more attractive wheat prices, lower profitability of canola, a likely increase in soyabean plantings and lack of rotation leading to disease problems.

In France, wet weather was hampering winter crops, with wheat ratings poor and rapeseed plantings reduced due to the difficult autumn, said a report by analyst Agritel. “European rapeseed is also taking benefit from the lack of competitiveness from Canadian canola, as stocks on 31 December fell to 7.31m tonnes from 9.65m tonnes last year.”

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