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China 2021/22 corn output seen up 4.3%

China’s 2021/22 corn output is expected to rise by 4.3% on increased acreage and yields, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday.

China was expected to produce 271.81 million tonnes of corn in the 2021/22 year, up from 260.67 million tonnes a year ago, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a report.

This year’s corn planting acreage was seen up 3.4% at 42.67 million hectares, as farmers were willing to expand the planting area on better benefits, the ministry said in the monthly China Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates (CASDE).

The estimates come as China’s corn prices hit record highs on tightened supplies after the country sold off its once massive state reserves while typhoons damaged the harvest last year.

Last week, an official think tank issued its estimates on output and acreage for the 2021/22 crop.

Analysts, however, said the official forecasts on increase of corn output and acreage might be a bit conservative. “As far as I am concerned, corn seed sales in the northeast are really hot this year. It seems that corn acreage increase will far exceed the (official) expectation,” said an analyst, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Farmers in the northeastern region, the country’s grain basket, have become more inclined to switch from growing soybeans and beets to corn, according to the CASDE report.

Corn yields in the 2021/22 year were seen up 0.8% from the previous year, due to favourable soil conditions during spring planting, and improved varieties of the grain, the report said.

China’s 2021/22 corn imports were forecast at 20 million tonnes, down from 22 million tonnes, according to the report.

Grain imports in 2020 hit a record high amid high prices of the domestic corn.

Meanwhile, soybean acreage was seen down 5.4% from a year earlier, at 9.35 million hectares, as some farmers in main production areas switched to corn.

Growth of China’s soybean consumption and imports in 2021/22 was expected to slow as pig production levels gradually recovered to normal levels, the report said.

Source: Reuters (Reporting by Hallie Gu and Shivani Singh; Editing by Christopher Cushing,Subhranshu Sahu and Kim Coghill)

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