Break crop specialist and independent farmers’ co-operative United Oilseeds has announced a rise in pre-tax profits to £1,511,249 for the trading year to end June 2021, up 34 % on its £1,124,090 profit during the same period the previous year.
The farmer-owned co-operative also announced a record profits redistribution payment to its trading members of £440,000, at a press conference in Newbury, today (4th November 2021). This is the highest profits redistribution payment United Oilseeds has ever paid to its members and is 38% higher than the previous year.
The co-operative’s annual turnover was also up, rising by 21 % to £171,973,546 from £142,522,102 the previous year, whilst its net worth rose 11 % to £13,553,754.
“Over a 12-month trading period which featured the smallest rapeseed area ever planted in the UK, significant economic effects from the covid pandemic and the UK’s exit from the European Union, United Oilseeds has delivered an outstanding performance with the help and support of its farmer members and staff,” said Chris Baldwin, managing director at United Oilseeds.
“We are pleased to be able to announce the record profit share to our farmer members at a time when they are facing huge challenges from increased input costs, labour shortages and economic uncertainty. In the last 15 years, our co-operative has paid back a total of £5.35m to it trading members.”
Increased market share
United Oilseeds’ strong financial performance is reflected by an increase in market share of the UK rapeseed certified seed market – and its share of UK rapeseed crop trading – which have both risen to 30 per cent.
Mr Baldwin went on to highlight some of the reasons why oilseed rape plantings will increase and why farmers should continue to include the crop in their rotation.
“Oilseed rape market prices are high and are likely to remain so. At one point this year, the price even briefly touched 700 euros per tonne on the Matif futures market (equivalent to £593.22 per tonne). These higher prices have certainly helped encourage farmers to grow OSR again, but it is always important to remember that one of the OSR market’s traditional characteristics is volatility.
“Reports from around the regions so far indicate that this year’s OSR crop is doing very well with good establishment – particularly early drilled rapeseed – which will also help encourage growers to grow OSR,” he continued.
“Another positive factor for oilseed rape is the 41 % increase in winter barley planting this autumn. Winter Barley is a good early entry for oilseed rape and its area has increased by 128,000 ha, from 312,000 ha last year to 440,000 ha in 2021. Growers favouring early drilling will also find a plentiful supply of over-yeared OSR seed available.”
Mr Baldwin said over the next few years growers will also have an increasing list of ever-improving OSR varieties from which to choose, including ones with more stacked traits and the introduction of new “seventh generation” varieties which have many agronomic benefits. Growers also have the opportunity to reduce their risk with United Oilseeds “Produce of Area” contracts, which have no penalties should a grower’s crop fall short of the contracted tonnage, plus the increasing availability of seed breeder’s risk share establishment schemes.
“Growers can further mitigate their risk by selling their crops through marketing pools to shelter against dramatic price swings. For example, our Carte Blanche Pool is likely to deliver an average ex farm price of above £550 per tonne plus quality bonuses for its pool members, which is a very impressive result,” said Mr Baldwin.