China to be world’s leading corn importer even with record crop

Source: By Chuck Abbott, Successful Farming • Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2021

A favorable growing season and government policies that encourage crop rotations will result in a record corn crop in China, estimated the USDA. China is second to the United States as a corn producer and will be the world’s largest corn importer for the second year in a row, according to the monthly World Agricultural Production report.

The Chinese crop, now being harvested, was forecast at 273 million tonnes, 5% larger than the previous harvest. All the same, China would import 26 million tonnes of corn, the same amount as in the just-ended 2020/21 marketing year, said the monthly WASDE report. Both reports were issued last Friday.

“Imports are unchanged for 2021/22 as the gap between China’s domestic and international corn prices is expected to persist, particularly in the feed-deficit South,” said the WASDE report. Three-fourths of the corn crop is used as livestock feed. China displaced Mexico as the top corn importer in 2020/21.

Corn yields per hectare are 5% above average this season in China, said the World Agricultural Production report.

“In addition to the favorable seasonal conditions, farmers were also encouraged by government policies to reduce the area left fallow and to increase rotation of grain crops,” said the report. “Additionally, the government provision of targeted incentives and subsidies to corn processors and ethanol program initiatives have increased corn area. Previously, government policy aimed to reduce corn area.”