Rape growers to receive full contract price

By Robert Harris

INDUSTRIAL oilseed rape growers who grew crops for United Oilseeds this harvest will receive the full contract price regardless of yield, it has emerged.

Earlier this summer the co-op said it would only pay the full price, which ranged from £95-120/t, on tonnage equating to a maximum of 2.9t/ha (23.5cwt/acre).

Any excess would go into the firms pool on a minimum of £95/t.

That move, and similar moves by other merchants, were dubbed unfair by farmers.

Producers claimed the contracts had been rewritten to suit merchants following a crash in oilseed rape values, which fell by a third between January and July.

“That was a prudent announcement given the extraordinary market circumstances at the time,” said Martin Farrow, United Oilseeds managing director.

“However, working with a range of partners we have seen the marketing season start well and developed a clear picture of yields.

“As a result, we are happy that there are no unforeseen problems to reduce final payments.”

Average yield settled at about 3t/ha (36.7cwt/acre), and prices have recovered to put industrial rapeseed at about £120/t delivered, he says.

Cargill has also settled its disputes, though it does not say how.

“We have resolved all our differences with all our growers,” said oilseeds trader Philip Kimber.

“We have been as sympathetic as we can be, and all our growers are happy.”

That is not good enough, according to David Balderson of Viking Cereals.

“Either they have paid growers in full or they havent.

“We shouldnt have a situation where those farmers who shouted loudest have been paid, while the quieter ones have gone without.

“In general, I feel that is what the trade has been doing. Any farmer who has still only been paid a proportion of his contract should object.”

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