Grains Council: U.S. exports of DDGS to Japan hit record high

By Holly Jessen | December 31, 2012

Japanese imports of U.S. dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) have increased fairly steadily since 2004, reaching an all-time high in 2012, according to a chart from U.S. Grains Council.

From January to October, Japan imported more than 384,000 metric tons of DDGS, according to data from the Ministry of Finance Customs. By the end of the year, Tommy Hamamoto, USGC director in Japan, expects imports to reach 450,000 metric tons. As Japanese nutritionists gain familiarity with lower fat DDGS due to corn oil extraction, Hamamoto expects the volume to increase, as long as U.S. ethanol and DDGS rebound.

In other news, USGS reported that China is expected to produce more corn than rough rice for the first time in history. This illustrates “the growing affluence by the Chinese middle class and their demand for a more protein-rich diet,” USGS said. The USDA’s World Agricultural Supply & Demand Estimate that came out in December estimated that Chinese corn production would reach 208 million metric tons (8.2 billion bushels)—up from its previous estimate of 200 million metric tons (7.9 billion bushels). In contrast, it estimated China would produce slightly more than 204 million metric tons of rough rice.

China’s meat demand has exploded in the last 20 years, with poultry consumption at the top at a 300 percent increase. Beef consumption is up 155 percent and pork consumption is up 85 percent. In contrast, U.S. meat consumption increase figures are at 45 percent, 3 percent and 6 percent, respectively. This has increased the demand for animal feed in China. "Dramatic shifts in corn production are taking place across the globe," said Kevin Roepke, USGC manager of global trade. "This is stark evidence that today's corn producer is well poised to take advantage of growing global consumerism."