The share of rapeseed meal in compound feeds has increased over the last four years while the use of oilseed meals from rapeseed and soyabeans has declined, Germany’s Union for the Promotion of Oil and Crops (UFOP) reported on 17 March.

Oilseed meals in compound feeds dropped from 3.4M tonnes in the first half of the 2015/16 marketing year to 2.84M tonnes in 2019/20.

There had been a sharp fall in the share of soyabean meal largely due to the declining pig population. Soya meal use dropped almost 30% to 1.2M tonnes in contrast to a 10% decline in the use of rapeseed meal to 1.3M tonnes.

At the same time, the meal percentages in total processing had shifted, UFOP reported. The share of soyabean meal had dropped from 48% to 41% in the past four years while rapeseed meal’s share had risen from 41% to 44%.

Most soyabean meal used in feed production was genetically modified (GM) soyabean meal imported from non-EU countries, especially Argentina, Brazil and the USA, according to information published by Agrarmarkt-Informationsgesellschaft. This was mainly used in fowl and pig feeds.

The rise in demand for GM-free rapeseed meal was due to the feed value of rapeseed meal and the fact that dairy products were increasingly labelled ‘without GM’.

UFOP said feeding projects it had undertaken had repeatedly confirmed rapeseed meal’s suitability as the sole protein component in dairy feeding and it was important to highlight the selling point of ‘without GM’ in safeguarding domestic rapeseed production.

With an area of more than 6M ha, rapeseed was by far the most important GM-free source of protein in Germany and the EU, UFOP said. ‘GM free’ was also an increasing factor in France, reflected by the fact that dairy products were increasingly declared ‘GM-free’, as they were in Germany.

UFOP also noted the lack of strategy for rapeseed oil-based biodiesel, the key outlet for rapeseed. Regional protein supply through rapeseed could only succeed if rapeseed oil achieved an adequate level of appreciation, argued the UFOP. German biodiesel producers were the most important buyers of rapeseed oil.