Grain Bins



Posted on September 25, 2006

U.S. corn export sales exceeded expectations last week. The USDA’s weekly sales report for the week ending Sept. 14 showed actual corn sales to be 1.029 million metric tons (40.5 million bushels), compared to trade predictions of 700,000-900,000 tons (27.5 million –35.4 million bushels). Sales to Mexico (410,400 tons/16.1 million bushels), Egypt (169,100 tons/6.6 million bushels), South Korea (167,500 tons/6.6 million bushels), Colombia (113,000 tons/4.4 million bushels), Japan (90,600 tons/3.5 million bushels), and Algeria (38,200 tons/1.5 million bushels). Weekly exports were also up 26 percent compared to the prior week at 1.39 million tons (54.8 million bushels).

U.S. Grains Council Chairman Vic Miller shared his views on world corn demand and the impact of U.S. producers on Tuesday, Sept. 19, while speaking with Iowa media. >From a 10-year high in U.S. corn exports in the 2005/06 marketing year to increases in distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) shipments and use of corn-based bioplastics in Japan and Taiwan, corn growers in Iowa and across the United States are finding a mounting demand for their crop, thanks in part to Council programs. “We are working on projects that make a real difference,” Miller said. “Exports are one tool we possess that can improve profitability. When we increase DDGS sales, we’re increasing the profits of the fledgling ethanol industry here in Iowa.” Miller estimated DDGS sales account for about 20 percent of some ethanol plants’ profits. The Council, using a stock-use ratio developed by the University of Illinois, estimates its efforts to promote U.S. grains around the world have added 6 cents to the price of every bushel of U.S. corn. “That improves the bottom line for every Iowa corn producer, whether he sells to the export market or not,” Miller noted. Support from the Council’s producer and agribusiness members and the USDA make the Council’s efforts to develop new markets and expand trade possible.

U.S. feed grains remain a popular commodity in Japan, accounting for 88.8 percent of imports through July. According to the Japanese Ministry of Finance, that country imported nearly 9.4 million metric tons (369.6 million bushels) of U.S. corn between January and July, giving the United States almost 96.8 percent of their overall corn imports. In addition, Japan purchased 612,000 tons (24 million bushels) of U.S. sorghum and 22,000 tons (1 million bushels) of U.S. barley during the same period. “In a mature market like Japan, it is important to maintain close relationships with our industry contacts,” noted Cary Sifferath, USGC senior director in Japan. “The Council has introduced new products such as bioplastics and distiller’s dried grains with solubles to expand the demand for U.S. grains and their co-products among these sophisticated consumers.”

Chinese pork producers and professors of veterinary medicine are in the United States this week to increase their understanding of swine management and improve their disease control efforts. The Council-sponsored program began Monday, Sept. 18, as the team attended a series of lectures at the University of Nebraska on vaccination programs and enhancing swine reproduction, nutrition and diagnostics before visiting a swine producing operation and supply store on Wednesday. The trip continued with a visit to a veterinary clinic in Pipestone, Minn., and presentations on disease eradication and biosecurity at South Dakota State University. In addition, the team toured an ethanol plant owned by USGC member VeraSun Energy and a swine farm using distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) in the rations in South Dakota today.

Approximately 50 Philippine feed formulators and buyers received an in-depth look at the use of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) in swine and poultry rations, as well as its potential for aquaculture. Kimberly Rameker, USGC regional director in Southeast Asia, led the workshop which helped buyers identify the potential cost savings of incorporating U.S. DDGS in their rations compared to current formulations. Participants received information on the mineral composition and nutritional qualities of DDGS during a recent seminar in Manila. In addition, DDGS production and the international and domestic DDGS markets were discussed. Dr. Budi Tangendjaja, USGC technical director in Southeast Asia, recommended feed levels for different swine and poultry diets and spoke about feed conversion ratios. Using feed formulation software, Tangendjaja created some examples of swine and poultry feeds incorporating both local and imported ingredients, showing end users could save a significant amount by using DDGS in feed. “Participants gave us the impression that their DDGS purchases are likely to increase in volume in the future given the research that they have done on their own combined with the information that we shared with them,” reported Rameker. The Philippines has imported more than 31,478 metric tons of U.S. DDGS between January and July 2006, an increase of nearly 640 percent compared to the same period last year.

The U.S. Grains Council’s staff in Mexico highlighted the use of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) during the Pork Producers Summit in Mexico this week. Approximately 500 Mexican pork producers attended the event to learn more about trade policies, the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round, environmental issues of farm management and the impact of U.S. ethanol production on corn supply and demand. Dr. Ricardo Celma, USGC director in Mexico, participated in a round table discussion on the variety of ingredients available for use in swine rations and the availability of corn. Celma noted that DDGS is a highly digestible source of concentrated protein, making it an excellent feed ingredient for swine. The Council also hosted a booth distributing information on DDGS and its use in livestock rations during the meeting which ends Saturday, Sept. 23. The United States exported 193,259 metric tons of DDGS to Mexico from January to July this year, a 225 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

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