The U.S. ag attache in China says planted area to oilseed production in 2012-13 is forecast at 25.32 million hectares, down 2% from 2011-12. The attache says soybean imports could reach 60 million metric tons (MMT) next season, which would be up from 57.0 MMT in 2011-12. The attache says U.S. soybean imports of 25.0 MMT would be up 1 MMT from 2011-12.
The attache forecasts China's 2012-13 soybean crop at 13.0 MMT, down 500,000 metric tons from the current year. "Low soybean profits in major production areas continue to influence farmers toward alternative crops, a trend expected to carry into 2012-13," says the attache, who says private estimates are for even more of a dramatic shift away from soybeans.
Regarding the higher soybean import forecast for 2012-13, the attache says China's feed industry is driving the growth. "The increasing scale of swine and poultry production nationwide continues to drive feed production and consumption. One of the largest animal husbandry producers based in Guangdong estimated that the group will consume 7.5 MMT of feed in 2012 as a result of expanded capacity and increased scale farming for swine and poultry," reports the attache. "The group also plans to double the scale of the contracted poultry farms by 2015. Aquaculture feed, though relatively small in volume, maintains high growth, for instance up 40% in Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province in the first quarter of 2012. Government purchase of domestic and imported beans for state reserve continues to impact supply and demand as well."
Link to full attache report.