U.S. Grains Council report emphasizes value of corn exports

The U.S. Grain Council (USGC) recently toured five Southeast Asian cities to present the first 2015/2016 Corn Harvest Quality Report.

This year saw more than 300 participants in Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta  and Yangon eagerly learning and sharing ideas and data with colleagues.

"In my five years presenting the report, this is the most excitement I've seen even despite the region not importing U.S. corn," Kevin Roepke, regional director for Southern Asia who was in charge of the meetings, said.

Feed grain is an extremely large import in Southeast Asia, with estimates of 472 million bushels of corn imported globally. It has yet to surpass global corn import leader, Japan, but if estimates are accurate, the region would surpass Mexican corn imports. Unfortunately, the United States stands to benefit little from the business because of poor freight spreads and a strong U.S. dollar.

The good news is that United States' corn-based feed products are a large import in the region. Vietnam was the United States’ third-largest importer of U.S distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) through October for 2015. Indonesia imported the largest amount of U.S. corn gluten meal (almost 165,000 tons) during the last calendar year.

The USGC presented information on prediction equations for low oil DDGS by Gerald Shurson of the University of Minnesota and Budi Tangendjaja, USGC's consultant in the region. Allen Davis from Auburn University presented an overview of DDGS promotion in the region’s aquaculture sector. The event also highlighted the DDGS market with an update from Hunter Kaestner and Joe Caruso of The Scoular Company.

"This event is just one example of the region's shifting the focus from price to value," Roepke said. "Knowing that your vessel will get loaded within the week; knowing that the corn is graded by non-biased government officials; and knowing that 100 percent of the samples tested below the U.S. Food and Drug Administration action level for mycotoxins all have value."

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