Brazil producers replace pricey corn with wheat in feed

Brazil producers replace pricey corn with wheat in feed

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Demand for wheat is raising planting intentions

Brazil’s livestock producers are substituting wheat for expensive corn in animal feed, according to a Reuters report.

Francisco Turra, president of the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA) told Reuters that JBS and BRF will buy wheat, triticale and barley for use in livestock feed and that wheat demand is driving a rise in wheat planting intentions.

Turra said wheat planting acres in Rio Grande do Sul could increase from 1 million hectares (2.4 million acres) to 1.4 million hectares in 2021.

U.S. corn prices have been high and are expected to remain that way; corn futures hit their highest in eight years recently.

Brazil’s government last week waived import duties on corn and soybeans, but a trader told Reuters that importing corn from places like the U.S. or Ukraine was not economically feasible.

Corn vs. wheat

Wheat is routinely used instead of corn in feed, but some considerations must be made in formulation, manufacturing and handling. Nutrient variability between varieties of wheat is often greater than between wheat and other cereals. For example, protein in corn varies between 6% and 10%, with common feed varieties giving a more stable value of 8% protein. In contrast, protein in wheat varies from below 10% (in some soft varieties) to more than 18% (in some hard varieties) with no accepted mean value for all wheat. In order to formulate diets correctly, the variety of wheat used must be identified.

The high presence of non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) in wheat increases gut viscosity. The bioavailability of biotin in wheat is virtually zero, compared with about 75% in corn. And the presence and levels of most known mycotoxins might be different in wheat than in corn.

Other alternatives to corn can be used in feed, including bakery meal, oils and fats, cassava, sorghum and soybeans.