BEIJING, CHINA — Depleted stocks and high domestic prices are anticipated to increase China’s corn imports, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA is forecasting a jump from 7 million tonnes to 22 million tonnes of corn to be imported for the 2020-21 marketing year.

China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA)’s October China Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (CASDE) noted the country has had a corn supply gap for the last several years, which the country has filled with auctions from reserves. MARA auctioned a total of 57 million tonnes from May to September 2020 and no further auctions are planned until spring 2021.

Industry sources said corn imports will be needed to meet demand, control further price increases and maintain stocks through 2021. China already has begun using temporary wheat and rice reserves and imports of feed quality wheat in substitution of domestic corn.

According to the USDA, as of Oct. 22, China has contracted for over 10 million tonnes of US corn for delivery in the 2020-21 marketing year, with only approximately 2 million tonnes shipped.