DESPITE dipping slightly this week, canola prices are expected to remain elevated until harvest due to low global stocks.
Last week, prices reached a whopping $915 a tonne in WA, while SA hit $877/t.
This week, SA prices fell slightly to $869/t delivered port, but Commonwealth Bank commodity analyst Tobin Gorey expects them to stay at that higher level as global stocks remain tight.
"They possibly dropped slightly because soybean prices also dropped this week, due to wet weather in the United States," he said.
"But I expect prices to fluctuate around this higher rate up until harvest. There will be a little pressure at harvest, but I expect that to be reasonably brief given the low canola stocks in the world.
"So for Australian growers, it is a sweet spot season - prices are well up there and crops look good - that doesn't happen very often."
According to the state government's most recent Crop & Pasture Report, SA growers put in about 203,200 hectares of canola this season - 17,000ha less than last season, but similar to the five-year average.
The Mid North had the largest area sown to canola (24,500ha), while 10 per cent of the state's overall crop was sown to genetically-modified canola varieties for the first time.
Bayer puts the figure at about 23,440ha.
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Bayer SA Market Development agronomist Tim Murphy said "by far" the largest GM district in the state was the Lower Eyre Peninsula, where about 8500ha of TruFlex canola had been sown.
"An area of that size has enabled the growers to attract a bulk export market and get a good price," he said.
Mr Murphy said there had be strong grower interest in more GM accreditation days prior to next season.
"Bayer has been holding field days to give farmers an insight into how the technology is performing," he said.
"Growers using the technology have been able to control their weeds in a year where there was staggered germination, as they were able to time their sprays at a wide range of crop stages.
"The minimal price difference with non-GM canola has also been of interest."
On Monday, Viterra was offering $875/t for non-GM canola, while their GM canola price was only $10/t less.
Honner Agriculture consultant Simon Honner, Blyth, said he did not have any clients put in GM canola this season.
"But a lot are viewing it differently now," he said.
"Being able to use different herbicides and/or grow canola back on residues of different herbicides, with some of the new varieties, has become very appealing."
Mr Honner said generally, Mid North canola crops were a lot later than normal, as germination was delayed until late May.
"Growers were quite concerned, and there is definitely staggered germination, but it has improved," he said.
"The high prices have certainly helped to forget the stressful start to the season."
The early-sown canola is certainly handling the wet.- PHILIP EATTS
The 200ha of non-GM canola at Philip Eatts' property in Strathalbyn were also looking very good.
"The season has been very kind to us, almost too kind, with a very wet month of July," he said.
"The early-sown canola is certainly handling the wet better than our wheat, which is starting to get waterlogged. Some sunshine would be most welcome."
Mr Eatts said they doubled their canola area after taking on a new lease - a move they are now rapt with.
"It would be good to see these prices hold," he said.
"Canola will definitely be the better-performing crop this year."
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