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The Rapeseed Oil Industry in Europe


High Yield of Rape Seed for Rapeseed Oil Plant in Europe
Rapeseed, a large winter or spring annual oil crop in the Brassica family, is related to mustard, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and turnip. Rapeseed is primarily grown for its oil and meal. In some areas, rapeseed, which contains more than 40 percent oil, becomes more profitable than soybeans which have 18 percent oil. At present, rapeseed has four major production areas, each of approximately equal surface: Chine, India, Canada and the European Union. Here we will mainly analyze the rapeseed oil industry in Europe.
Oilseed rape is an important crop in the European Union, harvested on 3.0million hectares with a production value of €2.5 billion. Three countries (France, Germany, U.K.) account for 90% of the rapeseed production in the E.U. The E.U.annually produces 5.1 billion kilograms of meal and 3.6 billion kilograms of oil from rapeseed. European production of rapeseed plays an important role in increasing E.U. Self -sufficiency in cooking oil production and contributes to limiting European imports of meal for animal feed.
Oil seed rape is planted in both spring and winter months in Europe. Spring oilseed rape is predominantly a crop of northern regions of the U.K., Germany, and France where cold, damp weather prevails. Winter oilseed rape is a crop of western Europe where mild winters dominate. More than 75% of oilseed rape in the U.K. is sown in autumn and is referred to as winter oilseed rape. Growers prefer winter oilseed rape to the spring crop due to its excellent fit with winter cereals and its higher yield potential . Winter oilseed rape is planted beginning in late August and is harvested in July of the following year . The crop goes into a vegetative stage over winter and flowers in spring. This years, many European countries begin to enlarge the plant of the rape.

Common Rapeseed Oil Production Processes

rapeseed oil production processes of European rapeseed oil plant

● Pre-treatment of rapeseed: to separate the rapeseed from impurities.
● Conditioning of rapeseed for hot pressed oil production: rapeseed is roasted by a roasting machine to 90-110℃.
● Rapeseed oil pressing by automatic oil press machine to get raw rapeseed oil.
● Refining of raw rapeseed oil: raw canola oil can not be consumed directly, so it should be refined by degumming and degreasing machine to be an edible vegetable oil. Basic edible vegetable oil becomes senior cooking oil after being neutralized and bleached.

Current Situation of the Rapeseed Oil Industry in Europe
♦ Unique characteristic of EU rapeseed oil
In the European Union rapeseed production is rapeseed 00 with low content of erucic acid and low content of glucosinolates, so the European rapeseed oil does not contain GMO and this makes EU rapeseed oil a highly appreciated edible oil. Many European food consumers prefer rapeseed oil produced in Europe over to other oils or other origins that might be produced from GMO.
♦ Rapeseed oil production in EU

EU_27 rapeseed oil production by year

we take France as an example
France is the second biggest producer of vegetable oils in the EU behind Germany, with a production of approx. 2,500,000 tonnes of crude vegetable oil. This production is divided as follows : 68% rapeseed, 21% sunflower seed and 10% soy.In France, 97% of vegetable oil production is derived from its territorialized resources. Every year, approx. three quarters of this production is processed in France by seed crushers, who are its main customers. With the exception of soy (trade balance in deficit)national production more than provides for the needs of the oil seed processing industry. The French oil seed sector in 2012 are 6,1 Mt seed processed for production of 3,4 Mt of meal, 2,5 Mt of crude oil and 2 Mt of refined oils. Rapeseed oil is the most widely used oil in France for both food and industrial applications (68%). Sales have increased threefold over the last 10 years and reached an estimated 1,532,000 tonnes in 2011. Food-grade rapeseed oil (purchased as such or processed in agri-food products) accounts for half these sales. Emerging industrial sectors include green chemistry, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry.

Domestic and Global Market Demand for Europe Rapeseed Oil

European canola oil

● Global rapeseed production has undergone sustained growth over the past 20 years. Having surpassed cottonseed production in the early 2000’s, it is now the second most produced oil seed behind soybeans. The major producers are China, India, Canada and European Union. During this same period, rapeseed crushing has risen strongly, Europe being the major player in this expansion (development of biodiesel) followed to a lesser extent by Canada and China. World exports of rape seeds are dominated by Canada, by far the largest exporter. Japan is a traditional importer, while China and the EU are less regular buyers.
● Canada, German, France, Poland, Denmark, Australia are the main rapeseed oil consumption countries as well as the main producer of oil seeds rape, among which Canada, France and Australia make a great contribution to the world exportation of the rape seed and rapeseed oil. On the other hand, a lot of countries self demand for the rapeseed is increasing wildly in recent years due to the general doubts about the health of the GMO food in the traditional western countries or the European countries. Besides, rapeseed oil begin to share more and more percentage in the world oil consumption structure.
● In France, German, United Kingdom as the traditional European countries, the yield of the oil seeds are increasing year by year with advanced agricultural technology and high quality professional experts.
● Asia is the net importer of rapeseed. The typical countries are China and Japan. China import about 2.50-4.0 million ton per year and Japan also import 2.2 million tons per tear.

All in all, the European rapeseed oil industry has a good prospect for development with high yield rapeseed, advanced technology and increasing global demand of the rapeseed oil. Besides, the development of bio-diesel has induced a significant increase in both the production and consumption of rapeseed oil. Along with the energy use of this oil, there is growing interest in its food uses observed in China (China’s demand for oil has added 2–3 Mt to global consumption), in the USA (1 more Mt per year), and in Korea. Therefore one can expect that the demand will remain sufficiently strong to sustain a continuous progression in rapeseed oil production idustry in Europe.