CHINA – China’s corn production is set to experience a significant boost in the upcoming marketing year of 2024-25, driven by improved yields and a slightly larger planted area, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture.

Released on April 2 as part of the Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report, the FAS forecast predicts China’s corn harvest to reach 296 million tonnes in 2024-25, marking a notable 2.4% increase compared to the previous marketing year. 

With corn planted area expected to reach 44.3 million hectares, farmers are favoring corn over soybeans due to higher profitability, despite government subsidies aimed at promoting soybean cultivation.

Total corn consumption in China is projected to reach 318 million tonnes in the upcoming year, representing a year-on-year increase of 13 million tonnes. 

Corn’s prominence in grain feed rations continues to grow, with feed and residual use forecasted to drop slightly but corn use in feed is expected to rise by 12% compared to previous years.

In efforts to meet domestic demand and enhance food security, China aims to reduce corn imports, which are estimated to reach 20 million tonnes in 2024-25, down from the previous year’s estimate of 23 million tonnes. 

Industry sources indicate the amount of acreage sown with GE corn seeds in 2023-24 is less than 1% of total area, but GE corn seed acreage could grow to 10-15% of total area by 2025-26 or 2026-27 if favorable conditions develop,” the FAS said.

Brazil has emerged as the leading corn supplier to China since the country received its first vessel of Brazilian corn in early 2023.

Furthermore, China’s agricultural policies emphasize the importance of improving crop yields and reducing imports to bolster food security. The recent “No. 1 Document” published by the State Council outlines plans to facilitate the industrialization of biotech seed breeding, signaling a potential expansion in the use of genetically engineered (GE) corn seeds.

While China remains the world’s largest wheat producer, with a forecasted production of 138 million tonnes in 2024-25, the country’s total wheat consumption is expected to decrease due to lower corn prices reducing wheat substitution in feed. 

Additionally, China’s rice production is projected to increase slightly, driven by larger planting areas and improved yields.

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