Rising South Korean corn imports to raise hog herds

Feed-corn shipments may increase by as much as 6 million tonnes this year, as compared with 5.72 million tonnes in 2011. Wheat imports will probably rise 2.5 million tonnes this year, Kim Chi Young, director for grain purchasing at the Korea Feed Association, said.The domestic pig herd may gain to about 9 million by September, placing a higher demand for grains, and consequently supporting the price of corn and wheat. South Korea culled 3.32 million pigs, or 34 percent of the total herd, and 151,000 cattle, or 4.5 percent of the total, from late November 2010 through April 2011 in reaction to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Experts say that the recovery of the nation’s livestock-feed output has been faster than expected, with last year’s output dropping less than expected. Feed producers will also increasingly seek out corn from South Africa and South America as alternatives for US corn. The Korea International Trade Association reports that imports from South Africa increased four-fold last year by 800,000 tonnes, while US import decreased to 4.84 million tonnes, representing a drop of 19 pc.

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