BEIJING, CHINA — China’s feed and residual use for coarse grains and feed-quality wheat in 2020-21 is forecast to increase by nearly 5% over the previous year, according to a July 5 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA projects a 9.5-million-tonne increase based on projected swine restocking and strong growth in the poultry and ruminant sectors.

China has started to recover from the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak that began in 2018 and led to the culling of roughly half of the country’s pig herd.

Overall feed demand is forecast by the USDA to recover to the 2017-18 level at around 214.5 million tonnes.

The USDA sees Chinese corn output in 2020-21 at 250 million tonnes, down 4% compared to the previous year. It noted that the decline is mainly attributed to the impact of Fall Armyworm and reduced planted area.

“Corn consumption is forecast down 2 million tonnes compared to the previous report as high corn prices and an inadequate supply of good quality corn are expected to push mills to turn to wheat and sorghum,” the USDA said. “Corn prices have shot up in the North China Plain due to a regional supply shortage coupled with stockpiling and price speculation by traders outside of the region. In addition, robust hog sector restocking and insufficient corn imports have pushed up corn prices. In response to rising prices, the government began sales from the temporary state corn reserve in May and is expected to auction off the remainder of the temporary reserve during 2019-20.”

The USDA said that since there are no indications the government will reduce the volume of other state-held reserves, the country may rely on grain imports and stockpiled rice and wheat to meet feed demand in 2020-21.

Forecast wheat production in 2020-21 is down 1 million tonnes from the previous report to 134 million tonnes due to adverse weather before harvest. Consumption is adjusted higher by 2 million tonnes based on higher feed-quality wheat consumption, the USDA said.

Sorghum imports in 2020-21 are forecast by the USDA at 4 million tonnes, 2 million tonnes higher than the previous report to satisfy robust feed demand from livestock and poultry restocking, especially in South China