Growers ‘should shift focus on to premium food oils’

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Premium food oil production will become increasingly important for UK oilseed rape growers in a future European vegetable oil market set to be driven far less by biodiesel demand, according to David Neale, head of agronomy specialist Agrii.

Speaking in Stafford, he stressed that the fundamentals of the rapeseed market remained strong, but he believed that growers had to prepare themselves for European bio-diesel demand peaking, leading to progressively more food-
focused requirements.

“The writing is clearly on the wall. Our market will be depending far less on the biodiesel which has given it such stability in recent years and very much more on food oil for both domestic use and export.”

His advice to growers wanting to maintain the best and most stable returns was to develop their positions in premium quality food oil production.

He claimed food industry demand for stable, high-health frying oils was increasingly steadily across Europe.

“At the same time, advanced hybrid breeding is producing a steady stream of speciality oil varieties, with all yield potential and agronomic strengths of today’s commodity ‘double lows’ and higher oil qualities better able to deliver the required premium specification even in the face of some volunteer or weed contamination.”