The UK Reduces Rapeseeds from Ukraine and Lithuania


May 18, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

The total UK Rapeseed area in MY 2023/24 is forecast to increase for the second consecutive year but remain significantly below historical levels. In 2012, the Rapeseed area peaked at 756 MHa and dropped in the area almost every year through MY 2021/22, primarily due to the ban on neonicotinoids in the UK. Higher costs and lower yields also make Rapeseed less competitive than other crops. Although up nearly 50,000 Ha (13 percent) in MY 2023/24, only a tiny increase in production is currently forecast following the excellent yields in MY 2022/23.

Drilling of the winter crop was complete by end-September, with the majority sown in August. Crop establishment was described as variable, with the dry fall impeding development and leading to sporadic cabbage stem flea (CSFB) infestations. Some of the area was replanted. Having overwintered well, in end-April, 66 percent was described as in good-excellent condition, down from 70 percent in MY 2022/23. Spring plantings were slow to start, and recent pressure on the market may lead to some substitution for spring barley.

The primary consumption of Rapeseed oilseeds in the UK is for products after crushing- Rapeseed meal and Rapeseed oil. Rapeseed oil is the most crucial driver and is used for human consumption of quality, high-end oil. The UK consumes almost 2.5 MMT of Rapeseed yearly as seed, oil, or meal. This figure is expected to steadily increase annually as the UK reduces import reliance. Stocks of Rapeseed oilseed are forecast to remain low in the UK, albeit rising slightly in MY2022/23 in line with the increased availability. The current forecast is at 86,000 MT in MY 2023/24; this will ultimately depend mainly on the size of the UK crop.

The UK was historically a net exporter of Rapeseed oilseeds. However, the loss of neonicotinoid chemicals meant it became more reliant on imports. The increased crop in MY 2022/23 has reduced the need to import in recent months. Between July 2022 and February 2023, the UK imported just over 540,000 MT of Rapeseed oilseed, compared to 740,000 MT in the same months in MY2021/22. Notable reductions in imports were recorded from Ukraine (down 85,000 MT) and Lithuania (down 92,000 MT). According to the AgFlow data, the UK imported 34,000 MT of Rapeseeds from Uruguay in Jan-Apr 2023, followed by Latvia (10,496 MT).

Imports are currently forecast at 750,000 MT in MY 2023/24, again due to the relatively positive UK crop outlook. The UK has also significantly reduced the volume of Rapeseed oilseed exports in recent years. These are expected to be just 50,000 MT in MY 2022/23 and are forecast to remain unchanged in MY 2023/24. This is half the volume recorded in MY 2020/21 and is partly a result of trade routes shifting post-Brexit.

Rapeseed Meal in the UK

Having rebounded to MY2019/20 levels in MY2021/22, Rapeseed meal production is expected to rise 70,000 MT in MY 2022/23 in line with the increased Rapeseed crop, with a further marginal increase in MY 2023/24. The demand for Rapeseed meal comes from the UK livestock sector. The UK is a leading producer and exporter of meat and dairy products.
While livestock numbers, principally of pigs, fell in the second half of CY 2022, feed demand for Rapeseed meal, while down slightly, has remained strong compared to grains.

Similarly, despite the pig sector forecast to start to recover in MY 2023/24, demand for Rapeseed meal is forecast to remain at the MY2022/23 level. Rapeseed meal competes with soybeans and soybean meal from the United States and other suppliers, as well as domestic sunflower meal and grains in feed ratios.

Other sources: USDA

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