The USDA, in a recent GAIN outlook report, predicted that feed use in that Asian economy will jump by 6.8m tons in 2020/2021, a 3.2% hike on 2019/20, on projected swine restocking and strong growth in the poultry and ruminant sectors.
“Overall feed demand is forecast to recover to the 2017/18 level at around 218.9m tons.”
Overall feed production is projected to rise during the remainder of 2020 and into 2021 as the swine herd continues to recover from African swine fever (ASF) and the poultry sector expands to meet growing demand.
Referencing statistical data from China's feed industry association, the authors reported that, in July, the country's swine feed production increased 10.3% month-over-month and 36.8% year-over-year. Sow feed production witnessed a 77.8% increase year-over-year.
Poultry feed production in July in the Asian behemoth also recorded more than a 10% increase from last year.
Millers seek to formulate with less corn
In terms of the domestic crop outlook, corn production in China in 2020/21 is forecast down 4% compared to 2019/20 at 250m tons, mainly due to the impact of disease, reduced planted area, and extreme weather before harvest, said the authors.
The Chinese government has also depleted almost all its temporary corn reserves via 15 rounds of auctions from May to September so the country may rely on corn imports and stocks of old rice and wheat to meet feed demand in the coming marketing year, they added.
Corn prices have continued to rise since June to almost 3,000 yuan (US$440) per ton in some regions in early August, hitting a five-year high, said the USDA team. Feed demand recovered, but high corn prices have been restricting the use of the crop in feed formulations and is driving substitution to other feed grains.
Many Chinese feed mills, located in coastal areas, have adjusted their feed rations due to record corn prices and replaced some corn with more sorghum, barley, and wheat, reported the USDA GAIN team.
“The percentage of corn used in the rations has dropped from 55-60% to 30-40% for sows and feeder pigs, and from 40-50% to 20% in poultry feed. Formulations for new-born and piglet feed remain unchanged.”
The estimate for wheat use in China for 2020/2021 is adjusted higher based on higher volumes of feed-quality wheat consumption. Sorghum imports in MY 2020/21 to China are forecast up by 2m tons to 6m to replace the more expensive corn, wrote the team.
Imports for barley are forecast down by 500K to 5m tons due to import barriers on that crop originating in Australia. Argentine barley has reportedly begun to fill some of the void left by Australia.