Japan boosts feed stockpiles on Ukraine, Brazil imports

US imports down on drought prices

Japan will spend $20 million to boost feed mills’ stockpiles and safeguard the country’s food security as it shifts corn imports from the U.S. to Ukraine and Brazil, according to reports.

Inventories are expected to expand to 750,000 metric tons in the 12 months beginning April 1, roughly 7 percent of consumption, compared to 2012’s 450,000 metric tons, said Ryosuke Hirooka, deputy director for the feed division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Japan’s record corn purchases from Ukraine and Brazil, which cut U.S. supplies to the lowest level in at least 20 years, were a result of the U.S. Midwest drought that led to record prices. Shipments from South America and Europe were delayed, as well, and Japan’s feed mills had to use stockpiles.

The U.S. supplied 5.1 million metric tons of feed corn to Japan in the first eight months of 2012, or 78 percent of imports, according to the ministry. Ukraine shipped a record 822,226 metric tons, or 13 percent. The U.S. is expected to supply 1.5 million metric tons of corn, or 56 percent of imports, in the first quarter of 2013. Brazil will provide 800,000 metric tons and Argentina 150,000 metric tons, while Ukraine and others ship the rest.