Rains affecting corn harvest quality

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A group of local feed millers is looking at the importation of some 400,000 metric tons (MT) of feedwheat over the next few months, citing the poor quality of local corn because of continuous rains.

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Norman Ramos, president of the Philippine Association of Feed Millers Inc. (Pafmi), said that feed producers have shipped in some 600,000 MT of feedwheat as of May 2013, adding that the figures may reach 1 million MT before the end of the year.

“This year, we have so far brought in about 600,000 tons of wheat. So its possible that feed millers will still bring in feedwheat for as long as prices are competitive,” he said.

Ramos added that feed millers may possibly start importation by November.

The industry normally books feedwheat imports around January to June, which will arrive at the latter part of the year.

Feedwheat is an alternative ingredient used for making animal feeds.

The typical animal feed used by local hog growers is composed of 50-percent corn, 25-percent soya meal from soybean and 25-percent polard, plus multivitamins, fish meal and coconut oil.

Over the past two years, the industry preferred to the use of feedwheat for millers’ feedstock, because of competitive pricing and better quality as compared to local corn.

But Ramos said that bumper harvest of yellow corn in the Philippines over the last few quarters has resulted in a more stable price, making it ideal for feed millers to buy more grains from domestic sources.

He, however, admitted that feedwheat imports for this year would be lower by a third from 1.6 million MT a year ago.

“Last year, we imported 1.6 million MT of feedwheat. For 2013, it may be 1 million MT,” he said.

For the remainder of the year, Ramos said that feed millers may again look into overseas supplier for feedwheat because of the poor quality of corn.

“There is no corn shortage, but if there is an opportunity, millers will bring in feed wheat. There is no corn shortage, but the quality of corn is not as good. Because of the rains, corn is harvested early and is smaller,” he said.

Ramos also said that the feed industry is keeping an eye on opportunities to import corn or cassava for their feedstock requirement.

“It a matter of practicality,” he said.

At present, average prices of yellow corn in the local market was at P14.50 a kilo, at par with the landed price of feedwheat at P14 to 14.50 (excluding delivery).

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