The U.S. Grains Council has wrapped up its 15th annual China Corn Harvest Tour. Areas representing 71-percent of that country’s corn production were traveled and sampled during the month of September. On Tuesday, CEO Tom Dorr shared the Grains Council’s estimate of China corn production.
"The council estimates a bumper corn crop this year in China, with a total production of approximately of 167 million metric tons or 6.6 billion bushels. We believe that this has been taken off of 30.9 million hectres or roughly 76.35 million acres."
That implies a yield of about 86 bushels per acre, and is lower than the 182-million metric tons the Chinese government is projecting.
"Tracking the production, tracking the ending stalks and even trying to assess a yield in China, historically has been a challenge. The Chinese government, historically, has not been transparent in its systems. It is now in the process of trying to, in my view, make its systems more transparent but that still means that this tour is quite essential, if we are to assess the opportunities in that market."
Dorr says the Council’s estimate indicates China’s production will not be sufficient to meet anticipated domestic demand:
"We believe that the estimated carry over according to our calculations is more like 24 million metric tons and we believe their focus is somewhere between 35 and 40 million metric tons. So we think an estimate of their import demand from all markets around the world will be between 5 and 10 million metric tons. That will be 200 to 400 million bushels."
As recently as 2002-03 China exported nearly 600-million bushels of corn. Then Dorr says exports began to decline and China was a net importer in 2009-10 and 2010-11.