Flooding has had a minimal impact on Thailand's 2017-18 rice production. Photo by Adobe Stock.
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. – With the restart of government rice stock sales in Thailand, utilization of the crop in swine and poultry feed rations is expected to increase along with exports, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

Exports in 2016-17 are expected to reach 11 million tonnes, and almost all of the government stocks are likely to be depleted. The government restarted sales in August following a two-month suspension.

Strong demand from Middle Eastern and African countries pushed exports to 6.4 million tonnes from January through July. Parboiled rice exports increased to 1.5 million tonnes, up 40% from a year ago.

“Exports of white rice also increased 10% to 15% from the same period last year driven by the sale of government stocks, which makes Thai rice price more competitive than Vietnamese rice,” the FAS said.

As the government continues the sale of feed/industrial quality and deteriorated rice stocks, consumption for 2016-17 was revised up to 12 million tonnes. That’s a 32% increase from 2015-16 due to the utilization of rice from government stocks for the production of energy, fertilizer, and poultry and swine feed.

The government has sold approximately 3.7 million tonnes of feed/industrial quality rice, and 500,000 tonnes of deteriorated rice since January 2017. Feed-quality rice stocks are being used for swine and poultry feed as a substitution for broken rice and corn. Prices of feed-quality rice stocks are 25% below the current market prices for broken rice, and 15% below the market prices for corn, the FAS said.

With the expected depletion of the government’s rice stocks this year, rice consumption for 2017-18 is expected to drop 4% to 11.5 million tonnes.

The FAS also noted that flooding in July and August has had minimal impact on 2017-18 rice and corn production. About 90% of the flooding during the monsoon depressions occurred in main-crop rice growing area, accounting for 2% to 3% of total rice production.

However, it involved mainly the 2017-18 rice that was in the vegetative stage and can be replanted. Off-season rice for 2016-17 was not hit by flooding.

The rice production forecast for 2017-18 remains unchanged at 20.4 million tonnes, the FAS said.

“This is approximately a 6% increase from MY2016-17 due to favorable weather conditions and sufficient irrigation supplies,” the FAS said in the report.