Oilseed rape prices rise on nervous market

Oilseed rape prices have risen over the past week, helped by rising crude oil prices and reports of oilseed rape crops coming off the field in western France at 2.5-3t/ha.

The same fields yielded 3.3t/ha last year, according to grower co-op United Oilseeds.

The Ukraine harvest has also started early, with yields about 5% down, but across a far larger area than last year, so heading for a larger crop overall.

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Ex-farm spot prices collected by Farmers Weekly on Wednesday (27 June) averaged £285.4/t compared with £281.3/t a week earlier, although there is a large regional spread. New crop prices for harvest ranged from £280/t to £296/t ex-farm.

While prices remain below the £300/t that would trigger more farmer selling, there is little market activity by growers.

“We’d like to think that there is potential for oilseed rape prices to go up, but if soya beans remain relatively cheap, the EU will import US soya beans,” said United Oilseeds’ trading manager Owen Cligg.

The likelihood of a much earlier harvest than originally thought has prompted a flurry of pre-harvest activity to clear stores and prepare for the new crop, he said.

On the trade front, limited export business has been done.

Escalating trade tensions between the US and China have made oilseeds markets extremely volatile – US futures slumped days ago with China threatening to impose a 25% duty on US soya beans in retaliation for president Donald Trump’s trade measures against the Chinese.