RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA — Saudi Arabia’s barley imports are forecast to decline in 2019-20 due to adequate reserve stocks and good pasture conditions for feeding of livestock, according to an Aug. 6 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Total Saudi Arabia barley imports for the current marketing year are estimated at 7 million tonnes, about 1.5 million tonnes lower than the USDA’s previous estimate of 8.5 million tonnes.

So far in marketing year 2019-20 the Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO) has issued two barley import tenders for a total of 1.74 million tonnes in the July to October period. This would be a decrease of 46.3% compared to imports in the same period last year.

Local animal feed experts attribute the sharp decline in Saudi Arabia’s barley imports for the first four months of the current market year due to adequate reserve stocks. Good pasture conditions also led to a significant drop in barley consumption last winter.

Increased consumption of locally processed feed by the livestock sector is another reported reason for decreased demand in the first four months of this marketing year.

“SAGO appears to be comfortable with world barley supplies and does not see the need to hold large ending stocks,” the USDA said.

SAGO does not release information on barley stocks. However, they are estimated at approximately 25% of total consumption.