China able to cut soybean imports by 10m mt in 2018: study

07.08.2018

China can cut its soybean imports by 10 million mt in 2018 by expanding the use of low-protein feed, increasing imports of soymeal substitutes and by upping its domestic soybean production, researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said Monday.

The research showed that lowering the share of protein in animal feed, providing four specific amino acids were added to the feed, would not have a significant effect on the output or quality of chicken and pork.

China has sufficient amino acid production capacity making the switch to a low-protein feed formula "operable and sustainable," Zhang Haitao head of Guangdong Evergreen Feed Industry Co. said.

The publication of the study comes amid a trade spat between the US and China that has seen the latter tax US soybean imports at 25%.

Chinese buyers have been looking at ways in which to reduce soymeal consumption and diversify away from buying US beans without either impacting the size and growth rate of the animals or driving up costs.

Zhang added that a low-protein feed formula can cut the nation’s annual soymeal demand by 5% to 7%, equivalent to 5 million mt of soybeans.

China is also able to switch to other sources of protein such as rapemeal and sunmeal as these substitutes become more economical to use and have "have huge room for growth," Li Qiang, chairman of Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. said.

"If China increases imports of rapeseed by 2.5 million mt, meals from sunflower seeds by 3.5 million mt, and meals from palm kernels by 3 million mt this year, theoretically the country can reduce soybean imports by 6 million tonnes," Li said.

Finally, China can up its domestic production of soybeans, which this year is expected to exceed 15.2 million mt in 2018, up 1 million mt on the year, based on a planted acreage of 7.6 million ha, the USDA estimated in June.

On top of that, some 4 million ha of idle arable land in Yangtze River Basin can be used for soybean plantings, Fu Tingdong, professor at Huazhong Agricultural University said.


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