United Oilseeds harvest pool tops £302 per tonne before bonuses

The independent United Oilseeds co-operative, which has the largest rapeseed tonnage under pool management in the UK, has announced a Harvest Pool result of in excess of £302 per tonne

The independent United Oilseeds co-operative, which has the largest rapeseed tonnage under pool management in the UK, has announced a Harvest Pool result of in excess of £302 per tonne ex farm, before additional oil, moisture and admixture bonuses.

Additional quality bonuses for harvest 2018 averaged 9.72%, which means the average amount received by farmers in the United Oilseeds Harvest Pool will be nearly £330 per tonne. (Average quality bonuses this year were above last year’s figure of 9.68%, because oil content was higher as a result of the prolonged sunny weather).

“This is a very strong and positive pool performance and one that has been achieved against extremely challenging agronomic and trading conditions, which was compounded by a volatile exchange rate,” said Owen Cligg, Trading Manager at United Oilseeds.

“Despite a harvest that came much earlier than expected, lower than average yields, drought and the damaging effects of cabbage stem flea beetle, United Oilseeds still delivered an outstanding result to its Harvest Pool members.  The result is particularly striking, bearing in mind that the price of rapeseed on the international Matif exchange did not even approach the equivalent of £300 per tonne until just before harvest,” he continued.

Members choose to place their rapeseed in the United Oilseeds Pool for two main reasons, prompt crop movement and special Produce of Area Contracts – which carry no penalties for either over or under-production.

“When damage from flea beetle and hot, dry weather conditions reduced the 2018 OSR crop area and its yields significantly, United Oilseeds members clearly benefitted from peace of mind and lower costs by using the cooperative’s default-free Produce of Area contracts,” said Mr Cligg.

“With flea beetle pressure particularly high on newly drilled crops this autumn, Produce of Area contracts would seem like a sensible way forward for growers this coming season too,” he continued.

United Oilseeds’ national network of 60 stores (including 4 specialist HOLL stores) also played an important role during harvest. “Having local stores in close proximity to our members farms helped keep transport costs to a minimum and enabled prompt collection and movement, usually within two to three days. It also allowed our stores to intake both wet and dry rape, as well as enabling our transport department to move cap loads at no extra charge for farmers,” said Mr Cligg.

In addition, every load of oilseed rape going into United Oilseed stores is independently tested for erucic acid levels to minimize any farmer issues on delivery to end users, as well as for oil, admixture and moisture content, all at the co-operative’s cost. Storage rates for members are highly competitive and cash advances are also available.

To date in 2018, United Oilseeds has collected and moved 190,000 tonnes of its members’ oilseed rape to store.

Based on its own member survey, United Oilseed estimates the actual OSR crop left in the ground for harvest 2019 after flea beetle attack and drought this autumn is down 10.81 %, from the 602,783 hectares drilled in 2017, to 537,623 hectares.*

The average yields for UK OSR in 2018 were down 12.57% to 3.29 tonnes per hectare. United Oilseeds estimates that, the 2019 UK rapeseed crop will produce 1.88 million tonnes, down from the 2017 harvested crop of 1.98 million tonnes (calculated using a five-year OSR yield average of 3.5 tonnes per hectare).

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