TOKYO, JAPAN — With livestock production expanding, Japan is forecast to maintain a robust demand for feed grain, particularly rice, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The report said corn imports are expected to decrease in marketing years 2021-22 and 2022-23 as feed millers opt to increase the ratio of low-cost rice in their compound feed at the expense of corn.

The USDA said it anticipates feed demand “to be robust to meet the needs of growing poultry flocks and swine herds,” which are rebuilding following sporadic avian influenza and classical swine fever outbreaks in 2021. Poultry and swine consume more than 65% of compound feed in Japan.

The report noted that corn imports are forecast to decline to 15.2 million tonnes in the next two marketing years due to soaring prices. The USDA had previously projected corn imports to reach 15.6 million tonnes.

The USDA also estimates reduced food wheat imports in 2021-22 as Japan’s contracting population and declining per capita wheat consumption, coupled with increasing domestic production, is limiting demand for imports.

The Russia-Ukraine war is not expected to have a significant impact on Japan, the report said, as the Black Sea region is not a significant supplier of grain and feed to Japan.