Rape growers will 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.
The move, and similar ones made by other merchants, was dubbed unfair by angry farmers who claimed that the contracts had been rewritten to suit merchants following a steep fall in oilseed rape values, which fell by one-third between January and July this year.
"That was a prudent announcement given the extraordinary market circumstances at the time," says the managing director of United Oilseeds, Martin Farrow.
"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," says oilseeds trader Philip Kimber. "We have been as sympathetic as we can be, and all our growers are happy."
Dalgetys Trevor Harriman says the companys aim is to settle amicably when and if there is a problem. "The vast majority of our growers are within tolerance – 2% or 5t over, whichever is the greater.
"It is only where yields are significantly higher than expected that there has been a problem."
David Balderson of Viking Cereals welcomes United Oilseeds announcement, but is not happy with the stance taken by other merchants.
"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." *