Vegetable oil production in 2023/24 expected to be up on previous year

Chart: UFOPAccording to the latest outlook published by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), 2023/24 global production of vegetable oils will amount to 222.8 million tonnes. This would be a 6.1 million tonne rise compared to 2022/23. In other words, production could fully cover demand of presumably 217.9 million tonnes. Ending stocks are seen to increase only insignificantly.

According to investigations conducted by Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (mbH), palm oil is set to remain the world's most important vegetable oil in terms of manufacture and consumption, with global output estimated at 79.3 million tonnes. This translates to a 1.6 million tonne increase over 2022/23. In other words, palm oil accounts for just over 36 per cent of global vegetable oil production. Indonesia remains the largest producer with an output of 47 million tonnes, followed by Malaysia with 19 million tonnes and Thailand with just less than 3.5 million tonnes.

Production of soybean oil is expected to grow 3.7 per cent to 62.4 million tonnes in the coming crop year and could hit a new record. China remains the primary producer with production amounting to 17 million tonnes - based, however, on large seed imports. The US ranks second with 12.3 million tonnes. Rapeseed oil production is also expected to increase compared to 2022/23, by 200,000 million tonnes to 32.9 million tonnes. On the other hand, production of sunflower oil will probably decline around 10,000 tonnes to 20.8 million tonnes in 2023/24, although global supply of sunflowerseed is expected to exceed the previous year's figure due to expansions in area planted. Above all, this estimate reflects production declines in Argentina and Ukraine. The expected increase in sunflower oil production in the EU-27 is unlikely to offset these decreases.

Australia: rapeseed harvest expected to remain well below previous year

In its latest estimate of 2023/24 rapeseed production, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Chart: UFOPResource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) anticipates a sharp slump in output on the previous year to 4.9 million tonnes. In the 2022/23 season, the country saw a bumper crop of 8.2 million tonnes.

The latest estimate is based on sowing operations, which are nearing completion, and the current drought, which is set to end the series of three consecutive bumper crops. An output of 4.9 million tonnes would translate to a 41 per cent decline from the 2023 record.

According to Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (mbH) (AMI), the main reason for the sharp decline is lower per hectare yields due to the expected El Niño weather phenomenon, along with reductions in area planted. Although in the key production regions early autumn rains replenished sub-soil water supplies and ensured favourable growing conditions, the necessary autumn rain post sowing remained sub-standard in the northern production regions.

The AMI has pointed out the special harvest situation in 2023. The bumper crops overwhelmed storage capacities, which resulted in quality issues and storage losses. Nevertheless, prospects of attractive returns offered enough incentive for producers to grow rapeseed, with the result that only marginal land in dry areas was taken out of production.