WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Israel is almost completely dependent on imports to meet its grain and feed needs. In recent years, dried distillers grains with soluble (DDGS) and corn gluten feed (CGF) imports have increased significantly, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service said in an April 5 report. 

In market year 2015-16, 404,000 tonnes of CGF and DDGS were imported by Israel, of which 88% were from the U.S., up 357% compared to a decade ago, the report said. 

In the past two years, due to corn’s attractive pricing, its imports increased significantly at the expense of feed wheat. The Israeli feed milling industry shifts easily from corn, barley and sorghum to feed wheat and vice versa, depending on price relationships. Due to the continued shortage of feed wheat, mainly from Ukraine as its wheat’s quality has improved and is being sold as milling wheat, Israel has increased its corn imports significantly. In market year 2015-16 there was a sharp decline of 49% in the import of different grains and feedstuff from the U.S., attributed, among other things, to a strong dollar, as grains from the Black Sea Basin are more competitively priced.

The report said milling wheat imports are mainly from Russia, the U.S., Hungary, Germany, Canada and Romania. Most of these imports are of hard red winter wheat. There are 19 flour mills with a total capacity of about 1.3 million tonnes. In addition to milling wheat, there are some imports of packaged flour mainly from Ukraine and Russia.. 

The maximum area that can be planted with wheat is about 100,000 hectares out of which only 61,000 hectares were planted in the past year. Soybeans and corn are not grown at all in Israel, totally relying on imports, the report said. 

It noted that out of the total grain and oilseeds imports market year 2015-16, 74% was used for livestock feed, 17% as milling wheat, and nine percent were soybeans for oil and meal use. The grain, feedstuff and soybean supply totaled 4.625 million tonnes. From market year 2005-06 through market year 2015-16 total grain, feedstuff and soybean imports increased by 11%.