BEIJING, CHINA — China is expected to produce 272.6 million tonnes of corn in 2021-22, a 4.6% increase from last year due to higher planting area, the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a report.

This increase is lower than expectations, which had anticipated an increase of 15 million to 20 million tonnes.

Feed corn and residual use is estimated at 211 million tonnes as feed mills switch back to corn rations. With corn prices now $11 to $17 cheaper per ton than wheat, many feed mills have stopped substituting with wheat.

China has committed to buying 12.3 million tonnes of US corn for 2021-22, 80% has yet to be shipped. The shipping schedule shows China turned to Ukrainian corn in the fourth quarter of 2021, the USDA said.

China bought eight to 10 boats of Ukrainian-origin corn, equaling to 480,000 to 600,000 tonnes. These purchases are expected to arrive in China in the first quarter of 2022 and traders estimate Ukraine could ship 5 million tonnes of corn to China from what is expected to be a record 2021 Ukrainian crop.

While Chinese purchases of Ukrainian corn are on the rise, in the fourth quarter of 2021, China only bought four to five new boats of US corn (approximately 400,000 tonnes), for April-May 2022 delivery.

Wheat production in 2021-22 is adjusted to 136.9 million tonnes, up by 0.8%, or 2.7 million tonnes, from last year owing to both higher area and yield.

Wheat imports are estimated at 8.5 million tonnes, lower than the USDA’s estimate due to high international prices, the USDA said. Chinese buyers reportedly have booked between six and 10 vessels, or up to 600,000 tonnes of French wheat, for shipment from January to March 2022.  

Wheat feed consumption for 2021-22 is estimated at 35 million tonnes, 1 million tonnes lower than the USDA’s estimates due to reduced feed use as prices of other grains decline.