Encouraging harvest results joined rebounding values in reviving hopes for UK rapeseed growers who even a month ago had appeared to be facing a double whammy of low prices and poor yields.
Winter rapeseed yield have risen as the harvest progressed to lift the average so far to 3.3-3.5 tonnes per hectare, with half the area completed, consultancy Adas said.
That compares with 3.3 tonnes per hectare a week ago, when 30% of the crop was in the barn, and an average of 3.5 tonnes per hectare.
"Early yields continue to be better than expected, with most crops yielding close to the farm average," Adas said.
Rising crop hopes
The results underpin expectations that UK rapeseed production will hit 2m tonnes, a historically high figure, despite the dismal autumn sowing conditions and cold spring which earlier in the year had provoked forecasts of output below 1.5m tonnes.
Expectations have also been supported by farm ministry data last week showing that farmers in England, responsible for the vast majority of UK output, planted 674,000 hectares with the oilseed, - down 5.5% year on year, but far bigger than initially thought.
Sowings were supported by a sixfold rise to some 90,000 hectares in spring plantings, on the huge areas which farmers were unable to plant in the autumn thanks to inundations, or on which crops were abandoned thanks to slug damage or flooding.
Even using "low yield projections, it is difficult to forecast a UK rapeseed crop below 2m tonnes - well above expectations some months ago", traders at a major European commodities house said.
Prices have recovered too, rising by some £10 a tonne in the last week on farm, returning close to £300 a tonne, helped by a revival in Paris futures, the European benchmark.
The November contract in Paris has rebounded by more than 6% since hitting a contract low of E353.00 a tonne on July 31.
Besides the recovery in values of rival oilseed soybeans, thanks to dryness worries over the US crop, rapeseed futures received a boost in the last session when Canadian officials estimated the domestic crop at 14.7m tonnes, a record, but well below market expectations of a 15.5m-tonne harvest.
Much still to harvest
However, Adas cautioned against extrapolating harvest results so far to the rest of the UK, saying that, coming largely from the south half of England, "it is not representative of the country as a whole".
Yields of some cereals have fallen as harvest as progressed, with the consultancy estimating the winter barley yield, with 90% of the crop completed, at 6.4-6.8 tonnes per hectare.
A week ago, with 75% of winter barley in the barn, the yield was pegged at 6.5-7.0 tonnes per hectare, clear of the average of 6.4 tonnes per hectare.