Fatty Acid issue Hits Scottish Oilseed Rape

NFUS in touch with trade over problem

To compound a difficult growing season and problematic harvest, many Scottish oilseed rape growers may be facing deductions to the payment for their crops as a result of exceptionally high levels of free fatty acids being found in some samples.

Free fatty acids (FFA), if present in food-grade oilseed rape oil, can have an impact on quality.  The sector faces additional processing costs to remedy the problem. The Federation of Oil Seeds and Fats Association (FOFSA), the international body that looks at trading in oilseeds, oil and fats, has a contractual recommendation that the level of FFA be set at 2 percent. Higher FFA levels in some Scottish oilseeds are likely to be linked to this year’s exceptionally poor weather.

NFU Scotland is aware of two oilseed merchants contacting growers in the past week to make them aware that a proportion of payment on oilseed crops is to be withheld until testing samples for FFA is completed.  NFUS has spoken to the companies to seek clarification on the scale of the problem, the proposed withholding of part of the payment and contractual details regarding FFA content of OSR.

NFU Scotland’s Combinable Crops Policy Manager, Peter Loggie said:
“In what has been a very difficult year for oilseed rape, problems with FFA levels come on top of poor yields and higher than expected growing costs.

“We have had several discussions with oilseed merchants on the subject and it would appear that huge variances in FFA content have already been found in samples tested.  While some are well under the recommended two percent, others have been found with almost 10 percent FFA.

“Given the high levels that have been found, all loads of oilseed are now likely to be tested at intake for FFAs – a process that is expected to take between 10 and 15 days.  During that period, it would appear that part of the payment or oil premium will be withheld and returned should the sample pass.

“This news will come as a shock to producers and we would urge merchants to ensure testing is completed quickly.  This should allow full payment to be made within the normal contractual window.  We also ask that a dialogue be maintained with growers throughout the process of retaining payment and testing the crop.   In the meantime, NFUS will keep in touch with the trade to monitor developments.” 


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 103/12

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