Australian Oilseeds Federation reports record canola harvest

By Erin Voegele | December 23, 2011

The Australian Oilseeds Federation recently announced that the country has recorded its largest canola harvest to date, with prices for the oilseed crop remaining strong. In its December Crop Report, the AOF stated that 2.946 million metric tons of canola has been harvested this year. The previous record, set in 1999, was 500,000 tons less. The organization also reported that prices have remained stable at $450 to $490 per ton, indicating that the year is also poised to set records in terms of value.

“We have seen a significant and unexpected lift in yields across the country, which has led us to revise our estimates upwards by around 300,000 [metric tons],” said AOF spokesman Nick Goddard. “The cooler conditions experienced through much of the growing districts following flowering, together with a good moisture profile, set up ideal conditions for oil development in the seed in the lead up to harvest.”

According to the AOF, the near ideal conditions have also seen very good oil levels being recorded, with 44 percent being reported as a fair average across the country. This is 2 percent greater than the traditional average of 42 percent. In a number of cases in both east and west of the country, oil levels of 49 percent and even higher have been reported.

The AOF also stated that current expectations are for next year to be another strong one for canola, as seed companies are reporting strong sales. “The expected La Niña weather pattern could deliver a good moisture profile for planting in April, and expected oilseed prices still delivering growers a good gross margin, albeit possibly not as high as this year’s,” said the AOF in a statement.

While canola production in Australia increased last year, data published by the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service shows that canola production in the U.S. actually decreased in the past year. While NASS reports that more than 1.4 million acres of the crop were harvested in 2010, less than 1.1 acres of canola were harvested in 2011.

Canola production in Canada, however, increased this year. In early December, Statistics Canada reported production within the country hit an all time high in 2011, with 14 million metric tons of the crop harvested, a 10.7 percent increase over 2010 production levels. Average yields also increased by 1.5 percent in 2011 when compared to the prior year. 


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