Europe’s biodiesel industry was once more set to take in most of Australia’s canola export surplus, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

In November and December 2017, European crushing plants imported 450,371 tonnes of Australian canola, taking up 96% of the 468,785 tonnes exported by the country in the two months, wrote Grain Central on 8 February.

Australian Oilseed Federation (OAF) CEO Nick Goddard projected the trend would continue into 2017/18, when Europe would again absorb most of the canola surplus.

The states of Victoria and South Australia were likely to have a current crop export surplus of around 900,000 tonnes, while Western Australia was forecast to produce 1.77M tonnes in 2017/18.

“Our crop turned out larger than expected. Early on, we were thinking we would have struggled to meet east coast demand [of around 900,000 tonnes], but now we’re looking at a surplus of 1M tonnes from eastern states and Southern Australia,” said Goddard.

While Europe was set to take in most of the surplus, China was also re-emerging as a market with possibilities, according to Goddard.

Factors influencing increasing Chinese interest in Australian canola included the soyabean production forecasts in the USA and South America, China’s import duty on dried distillers’ grains to encourage consumption of domestic stocks, and the current price of Canadian GM canola.

“We will be competing head-on with Canada in the GM market, but if we’re looking at a higher-value targeted non-GM market, we can supply that too,” Goddard said.

Australian growers in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland were expected to increase their canola planted areas in 2018 due low chickpea prices.