Rapeseed production in the UK is forecast to increase in the 2022/23 marketing year, buffering it from reliance on imports of oilseed, meal and oil, according to a report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Total UK rapeseed oilseed production in the 2023/24 marketing year was expected to be 1.38M tonnes, marginally higher than in the previous year, the USDA’s 12 May report said.

Although planted area is forecast to increase nearly 50,000ha year-on-year, it would remain below the level reached from the 2001/02 marketing year to the 2019/20 marketing year, mainly due to the loss of some pesticides, according to the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)’s United Kingdom Oilseeds and Products Annual.

“Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, UK farmers faced increased input costs, including fertiliser and fuel, in the 2022/23 marketing year and into the 2023/24 marketing year. These remained high at winter planting but have subsequently eased in the 2023 crop year,” the USDA said.

“With another similarly-sized rapeseed crop currently forecast for the 2023/24 marketing year, albeit despite some challenges over winter and at planting in the spring, this is expected to continue to buffer the UK from external supply factors.”

Demand for oilseed meals for livestock feed use in the UK was forecast to recover in the current marketing year.

“A reduction in forecast soyabean imports in the 2023/24 marketing year is currently forecast to be more than offset by an increase in soyabean meal imports, meaning feed use of soyabean meal is forecast to recover slightly,” the USDA said.

Most oilseeds consumed in the UK was for use in products after crushing, such as rapeseed meal and rapeseed oil, with the latter used for human consumption, the report said.

The UK consumes almost 2.5M tonnes/year of rapeseed as seed, oil, or meal, according to the report, and this figure is expected to increase steadily year-on-year as it reduces its reliance on imports.