UK industrial corn consumption at 5-year high: DEFRA


Estimates of the UK's 2017/18 total corn consumption have been revised upwards to 1.9 million mt, a five-year high, driven by a rise in ‘human and industrial consumption’, UK government data published on Thursday showed.

In November last year a forecast from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs showed total UK corn consumption of 1.84 million mt, which was already up 80,000 mt from the year before.

Of the 1.9 million mt now estimated for 2017/2018, some 654,000 mt is projected for use in ‘human and industrial’ industry, up 84,000 mt from the November 2017 estimate.

Market sources have attributed the revised estimate to a switch from wheat to corn as a feedstock for the UK’s bioethanol industry.

Ensus’ biofuel fuel plant in Teesside has the ability to switch to up to 50% of its intake to cheaper corn.

This has caused it to be less affected by the recent margin squeeze in the European bioethanol market that prompted Vivergo to shut its 100% feed wheat plant in December 2017.

Vivergo took its plant offline for the “foreseeable future” after its production margin was pummelled by falling ethanol prices in the ARA hub, driven mainly by additional ethanol supply produced from the large European sugar beet crop.

Ensus’ plant has an annual production capacity of 400 million litres of ethanol, which it produced out of an estimated intake of 1.1 million mt of either wheat or corn, while Vivergo’s plant can produce up to 420 million litres out of an estimated 1.1 million mt of feed wheat.

As a result of the Vivergo closure, DEFRA cut its estimate for UK wheat consumption for ‘human and industrial’ industry to 7.6 million mt, down 500,000 mt from the November estimate and down from the 8.1 million mt consumed by the industry in 2016/17.


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