BEIJING, CHINA — China’s soybean production in the 2022-23 marketing year is forecast to reach a near-record 19 million tonnes on higher yields, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Total oilseed production — which includes rapeseed, peanuts and cottonseed — is projected at 64.5 million tonnes, up 800,000 tonnes from the previous USDA forecast.

“Government incentives for oilseed production (particularly soybeans), high prices for major oilseeds, and grown conditions in major soybean-producing regions drove increases in area and yield,” the USDA said.

The report said soybean yield is estimated at 2.03 tonnes per hectare, up 4% from the previous year.

Meanwhile, China’s soybean imports hit their lowest level for any month since 2014 this October, according to customs data, Reuters reported.

Imports for the month reached 4.14 million tonnes, a drop of 19% from a year earlier. Buyers cut purchases due to high global prices and poor crush margins.

China is by far the world’s largest consumer of soybeans, with domestic consumption expected to reach 116 million tonnes in 2022-23, up from 106 million tonnes the previous year, according to the USDA.