BEIJING, CHINA — China’s wheat imports increased 80% in the first four months of the year as prices fell relative to domestic supplies, Yicai Global reported.

China imported nearly 6 million tonnes of wheat from January through April, equal to 60% of last year’s total, according to data from the General Administration of Customs. April’s imports were 141% higher than a year ago at 4.7 million tonnes.

Chinese processing companies are replacing domestically grown wheat with overseas product to use as animal feed. This has led to large imports of Australian standard white wheat.

About 60% of China’s wheat imports in the first part of the year came from Australia, followed by Canada at 19%, France at 13% and the United States at 8%.

Wheat imports are likely to surpass the tariff quota of 9.6 million tonnes for the third straight year, but given the higher tariff rates on shipments exceeding the quota, it’s not expected to be by much.

China’s corn imports dropped 8.4% in the January to April period from a year earlier, partially due to the narrowing price gap between wheat and corn.

The nation’s soybean imports increased 6.8% in the four months, while rice was down 39.7%.