Germany processes more imported rapeseed despite larger domestic harvest
The share of foreign rapeseed processed by German oil mills was at the highest level ever in the first half of the 2020-’21 season. This was despite the fact that feedstock availability had increased due to the larger 2020 rapeseed harvest.
In the first half of the 2020-’21 crop year, German oil mills processed around 4.8 million metric tons of rapeseed. This was up 5 percent year-on-year and also the largest processing volume in four years. In recent years, the volume of domestic rapeseed processed by German oil mills has decreased more and more. In the first half of the 2020-’21 season, just over one-third of the rapeseed processed came from Germany. This compares to more than 40 percent in the period a year earlier. It has been four years since the ratio of domestic and imported rapeseed was in balance. In 2016-’17, German rapeseed even accounted for the slightly larger share of 52 percent.
The share of imported rapeseed in the oil mills’ feedstock base has never been bigger than in the first half of the current crop year. This seems paradoxical in some respects, as Germany’s 2020 rapeseed harvest, of around 3.5 million tons, was larger than the previous year’s harvest of 2.8 million tons. According to Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (mbH), these figures show that the domestic share in rapeseed supply to German oil mills is not a question of the domestic harvest alone. The price is a key factor too, and offers from abroad were obviously quite attractive for processors in Germany.
The Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen (UFOP) has pointed out the supply risks associated with this purchasing policy, also in view of potential government interventions in exports. Also, major rapeseed supplying countries, such as Ukraine and other East European countries, have been affected by weather extremes with the result that the supply risk has increased over recent years. The UFOP has therefore recommended that processors secure their feedstock supply to the greatest extent possible already at the time the next rapeseed sowings are made. The association believes that the agricultural trade is in a key position to arrange the appropriate contracts.