UK to require extensive rapeseed imports due to another small harvest

The U.K. was the fourth largest rapeseed producer and hardly relied on imports during its membership in the European Union. This has changed since the small 2020 harvest and there are no signs of a turnaround in the 2021-’22 season.

By July 27, the British winter rapeseed harvest was approximately 9 percent complete, according to the first harvest progress report of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. Rapeseed crops have been slow to mature, delaying the harvest. In terms of harvest progress, the 2021 harvest is currently the second slowest since 2014. Also, the area of land to be harvested, 315,000 hectares, is 17 percent smaller than a year earlier.

Based on early yield indications, the AHDB puts the average yield of the 2021 winter rapeseed harvest in the range of 3 to 3.4 metric tons per hectare, which is close to the long-term average of 3.3 tons per hectare. This is as much as 19 percent higher than the previous year’s weak 2.7 tons per hectare. Oil content is assessed in the range of 43 to 45 percent. Drying has not been required due to the high temperatures in eastern England.

The 2021 rapeseed harvest is estimated at 1.1 million tons, which would be only marginally up on the previous year’s volume. In other words, extensive imports will once again be required for the 2021-’22 marketing year, because domestic consumption (estimated at 1.6 million tons) could reach the long-term average of nearly 2 million tons. Consequently, the level of self-sufficiency is set to remain at the low level of 66 percent. This compares to 100 percent in the period from 2016-’18.

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