China looks to develop high-quality corn varieties for livestock feed

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Tatomm
© GettyImages/Tatomm

Related tags Corn Protein China

The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) has launched a program to facilitate the breeding of high-protein corn varieties and promote the development of animal husbandry, according to a report by the state news agency, Xinhua.

The CAAS said the nutritional quality of feed inputs like corn directly affects the yield and quality of livestock and poultry products.

To develop high-quality corn varieties for use in livestock feed, the program will utilize molecular-design breeding, it will also involve cultivation demonstration projects and the design of new feed formulations, said the academy.

The program is expected to improve the nutritional quality of feed and reduce the use of soybean meal in rations, lower the country’s dependence on such imports, and in turn promote the high-quality development of China's seed and animal husbandry industries, reported the CAAS.

Corn inclusion in feed, crop production outlook 

Feed consumption accounts for more than 60% of China’s annual total corn usage, reports the USDA.

China’s increased tariffs on US soybeans during the trade war between Washington and Beijing resulted in slightly higher corn and corn products inclusion in feed rations, as a partial substitute for rising soybean meal protein prices, said the USDA.

Meanwhile, corn production in China in 2020/21 is forecast down 4% to 250m tons, mainly due to concerns about Fall Armyworm (FAW), said that US agency in April this year.

In that assessment​ of the Chinese feed and grain markets, the USDA also documented how China has been restructuring its crop production in recent years.

“For example, China converted a total of 15 million mu of grain (corn) into feed crops, including forage grain. Planted area is estimated to remain stable in 2020/21 in line with recent Chinese government policy guidelines amid the COVID-19 epidemic, including a reversal of the policy of reducing corn area, reduced area designated for the “grain-to-feed” program, reduced area left fallow, and increased rotation among grain crops. Industry reports indicate that the corn subsidy will also be double compared to 2019/20, while soybean subsidies will be unchanged.”

Corn quality 

However, the USDA outlined how China’s National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration (NFSRA) had reported that 2019/20 domestic corn quality is worse than 2018/19.

Also, COVID-19 epidemic control measures prevented Chinese farmers from selling corn, resulting in some corn mold due to rising temperatures and poor storage conditions.

“Mills may have to import good quality corn to support piglet and sow restocking.”

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