Plenty of positives for OSR despite challenging start

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Despite United Oilseeds estimating that 10-15% of the total UK planted area could already have been written off, there are still plenty of positives for OSR.

The cooperative remains upbeat about OSR prospects with domestic demand for rapeseed, and its products, remaining robust. “We have ample existing demand to which to market our crops,” noted MD James Warner,

Establishment issues, particularly due to Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle, followed by extensive wet weather resulted in a tough start, with some inevitable losses along the way. United oilseeds suggest a viable area of between 305,000-320,000 hectares. Assuming average yields, that could mean a crop below 1 million tonnes for only the second time this century. “It’s been an incredibly challenging time for Oilseed Rape growers in the UK,” added Mr Warner.

United Oilseeds forecasts that the UK will require close to 1 million tonnes of imported rapeseed during the 2024/25 marketing year in order to balance the UK supply and demand. “The UK is a long way from being self-sufficient in OSR. With concerns around food security elevated since the start of the Ukraine war, there is without doubt a place in the market for home-produced vegetable oils. Furthermore, rapemeal is a wonderful protein source for our livestock industry. It is a home-grown replacement for soybean meal, without the associated deforestation risk, which may well hold increasing importance considering the upcoming implementation of the EUDR”. 

Profits up

The co-operative announced an increase in EBITDA of one-third, rising to £2,243,160 for the trading year ending 30th June 2023 from £1,675,552 the previous year.

Annual turnover was down slightly, to £217,406,385, largely reflecting the decline in underlying commodity prices during the course of the year. United Oilseeds’ net worth rose by 23%, to £17,399,217.

Speaking about the recent results, Mr Warner said “Considering the challenges the market has been facing, and following a period of unprecedented price volatility, we are proud to announce another set of extraordinary results for our members co-operative. During the 2022/23 campaign, we managed to maintain our market-leading position in both UK Oilseed Rape crop marketing and our share of the UK’s certified seed market, both of which remain at 30%.

“Our co-operative has benefited from the ongoing strategy to expand our presence in other break crops. We are now generating more revenue and margins from non-OSR commodities than ever before. This has helped our business to mitigate some of the well documented challenges that the UK industry is currently facing.”

Total commodity tonnages traded by United Oilseeds were broadly unchanged year-on-year, at 415,964 tonnes, of which 23% (nearly 100,000 tonnes) was made up of non-OSR commodities – including Oats, Beans, Peas, Linseed & Hybrid Rye.

Last year, the farmer-owned co-operative announced a record profits redistribution payment to its trading members of £520,000, the highest in its 56-year history.  “Once these results are audited and finalised, we expect to be able to make another record profit share payment later in the financial year,” said Mr Warner.

A profit share payment to trading members for the 2022-23 financial year will be announced in December.

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