Rapeseed deliveries from Australia to the European Union (EU) surged 45% to 2.9M tonnes, according to data quoted in a report by Germany’s Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP), making the country the bloc’s top supplier this season.

In contrast, shipments from Canada, the previous main supplier, dropped due to a small harvest, according to the 21 July report.

According to research by Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft, Canada’s 2021/22 shipments of 611,300 tonnes were down around 71% compared to the previous year, reducing its share of total EU imports from 32% to 11%.

At 5.3M tonnes, EU-27 rapeseed imports from non-EU countries dropped just under 500,000 tonnes compared to the previous year, UFOP wrote. Although the EU rapeseed harvest was slightly larger in 2021 than 2020, total supply in the EU-27 in the 2021/22 marketing year – estimated at 22.8M tonnes – was around 1.2M tonnes lower than the previous year due to lower beginning stocks.

Demand from oil mills was initially covered by EU production, the report said, but from the first half of the marketing year, rapeseed volumes required to run mills at full capacity increasingly had to be imported from Australia, Ukraine and Canada.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February had also been a factor in the increase of Australian shipments, UFOP wrote, with the EU importing around 1.6M tonnes/year of rapeseed from Ukraine prior to the conflict.

However, Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s ports had halted exports from the Black Sea region, the report said, raising the importance of Australia as a supplier.

In the 2021/22 marketing year, Ukrainian deliveries totalled under 1.7M tonnes, compared to 2M tonnes the previous year.