WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND — New Zealand’s demand for grain and feed continues to increase as consumption for 2019-20 is forecast at 5.9 million tonnes, most of which will be imported, according to a Dec. 17 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The country’s uptick in grain and feed consumption has been dramatic. In 2013, New Zealand’s grain and feed consumption totaled 4.6 million tonnes and a decade earlier consumption was around 3 million tonnes, about half of the current total, according to the USDA.

“The magnitude of this increase is principally due to rising demand from the dairy sector, which accounts for the bulk of grain and feed consumption,” the USDA said.

While 75% of domestic and imported grain and feed is consumed by the dairy industry, the USDA said there are signs of slowing growth in that industry.

“The dairy industry is now at a crossroads,” the USDA said. “Although the milk supply grew around 5% per annum since the 1990s to 2017, milk supply has now essentially stalled. Initially this was due to low milk prices, but even as prices have risen looming environmental regulations are expected to pressure the industry.”

About 12% of New Zealand’s grain and feed is used for poultry feed production, 9% goes to human consumption and 4% to other animal feed uses, it said.

The USDA noted that due to New Zealand’s limited land for growing grains and oilseeds, approximately 63% of the total grain and feed supply is imported.