WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Large carryover stocks from record high imports during the 2015-16 marketing year, coupled with an increase in consumption of processed livestock feed, have led to a projected decline in Saudi Arabia barley imports.

Barley imports are now forecast at 7.8 million tonnes in 2017-18, down 13% from the official U.S. Department of Agriculture estimate of 9 million tonnes, according to an Oct. 26 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the USDA.

“Based on data from exporting countries, post reduced its estimate of total Saudi barley imports for MY 2016-17 by 38%, to 7.6 million tonnes, from USDA’s official forecast of 10.5 million tonnes,” the USDA noted in the GAIN report. “In MY 2015-16, the Kingdom’s barley imports reached a record high of 11.2 million tonnes, contributing to large carryover stocks in MY 2016-17. Another reason for decreased import demand is a reported increase in consumption of domestically produced processed livestock feed.”

During the first six months of the 2017-18 marketing year, the Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO) purchased 3.6 million tonnes of barley from Australia, the Americas, the E.U. and the Black Sea. The USDA said SAGO is forecast to import about 4.2 million tonnes of barley in the second half of the 2017-18 marketing year.

“SAGO tends to import large quantities of grains when prices are attractive,” the USDA said. “As such, the organization may import more than projected barley quantities if prices become more competitive.”

Between July 2015 and June 2017, Russia accounted for 21.3% of Saudi Arabia’s barley imports, followed by Ukraine at 20.9%, Argentina at 14.7%, Germany at 13.9%, and Romani at 7.8%, according to the USDA.