Global Feed Markets: July - August 2013

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                           July | August 2013
  Global Feed Markets: July - August 2013

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                                   GRAIN & FEED MARKETS
                                         Every issue GFMT’s market analyst John Buckley reviews
                                       world trading conditions which are impacting the full range of
                                     commodities used in food and feed production. His observations
                                                    will influence your decision-making.

     China’s problem
                                         China stalls cereal price drop
   caught the cereal
                                                   – for now

                                               hen things start to go awry in        this is over-rated by at least 10m tonnes and/or
    world off-guard,                           China – the world’s top wheat         that up to 20m tonne of milling wheat crops have
                                               producer and largest consumer         been lost or downgraded to feed.
      largely because                          of cereals in total, there’s bound       China’s maize crop is still expected to increase
                           to be a market impact. Such has been the case             this year from 206m to between 211 and
    it has had a long      over the past month, as a grain market confidently        214m tonnes according to the USDA and IGC
                           expecting much improved global supplies - and             respectively. These figures too may be exposed
    run of good luck       consequent lower costs - found its attention              to some downward revision.
                           diverted instead to an upsurge in Chinese grain              China’s crop problems clearly aren’t on anything
          with its crops   import purchases.                                         like the scale of last year’s US and Russian droughts
                              China’s problem caught the cereal world off-           which combined with other global weather issues
      in recent years,     guard, largely because it has had a long run of good      reduced world maize output by 28m and wheat
                           luck with its crops in recent years, these frequently     production by 42m tonnes. However, they have
     these frequently      exceeding forecasts made by western observers             to be seen in the context of China as the fastest
                           like the USDA and mostly keeping pace with China’s        growing consumer of cereals. Its maize consumption
exceeding forecasts        own rocketing demand for grain, especially in the         this season will outweigh domestic crops by at least
                           feed sector.                                              13m tonnes, possibly much more, wheat by about
   made by western            This year, however, a series of problems starting      4m tonnes (which masks the possibly far bigger
                           with a tough winter, droughts in some areas, floods       deficit in its milling wheat supplies indicated above).
  observers like the       in others and recent wet harvest weather have                The bleaker supply assessments have been
                           slowed development and/or interfered with sowing          backed by a surge in Chinese buying, especially
   USDA and mostly         plans – the result, a significant dent in official        from the United States, which at the time of writing,
                           production targets. How big a dent is uncertain           has logged sales to his destination of 3.2m tonnes of
         keeping pace      at this stage. In the wheat sector, production is still   wheat – 10 times as much as at this time last year.
                           seen by the USDA and International Grains Council         China has also been buying wheat from Australia
   with China’s own        between 118m and 121m tonnes – similar to last            and France. The USDA currently sees it importing
                           year’s. However, recent reports have suggested            8.5m tonnes of wheat from all sources, some trade
  rocketing demand

for grain, especially

  in the feed sector.

 44 | July - august 2013                                                                             Grain  &feed millinG technoloGy
   Table 2: Roughage and concentrated feed
   Cow Feed                Main Species                   Properties                  Nutrition              Feeding Value   COMMODITIES
                                                                                                                             Table 3: Common additives for dairy cows

                                                                                                                             Cow feed additives
                                                                                                                                                    Dosage (per
                                                                                                                                                                        Suitable growth

                                                         palatability,             Rich in crude                                                                        Prenatal 3 weeks
                            Grass, hay,                                                                                             Anionic salts       200 g
                                                             easy                     protein,                                                                              (calves)
                             crop straw,
      Roughage                                            digestible,                carotene,                   Low
                            alfalfa, chaff                                                                                             Bentonite    300-500 g       Lactating dairy cow
                                                        large volume,               vitamin D,
                               species                                                                                              Baking soda     110-225 g       Lactating dairy cow
                                                          high water              inorganic salts
                                                           content.                                                            Magnesium oxide          50-90 g     Lactating dairy cow
                               Corn,                    High quality,                Abundant                                     Isomeric acids        50-80 g     Lactating dairy cow
                            cottonseed                    low fibre,                in digestible
    Concentrate                                                                                                  High                    Choline         30 g       Lactating dairy cow
                            meal, wheat                 easy to store               energy and
                             bran, etc.                 and transport                  protein                                                                      Dairy heifer, young
                                                                                                                                      Monensin      50-200 mg
                                                                                                                                                         30 g       Lactating dairy cow
Pellet quality and productivity                     be strict control of the dosage.       Hydroxy Analogue
    Calves, breeding cattle and lactating cows Table 3 lists common additives for                                                   Prenatal 2 weeks,
     analysts far more, compared with the past questions the                                           Niacin        6-12 g
have different nutritional requirements and dairy cows.                                                                            postnatal 16 weeks
     season’s 3.2m and normal imports of only 1m trade frequently
will need different feed formulations. Raw
     tonnes or so. China’s maize imports are also asks but the way                                                                  Prenatal 2 weeks,
materials have great effect on milk quality; Conclusion                                          Yeast culture     10-120 g
     expected to expand to 7m tonnes from the China calculates                                                                      postnatal 8 weeks
for instance, rapeseed dregs, worse slag, fish-        Since cattle eat primarily for-
     past season’s 3m, again with a heavy emphasis and protec ts                                       Biogen       10-50 g        Lactating dairy cow
meal, and silkworm chrysalis powder should age, cow pellets are a concen-
     on US supplies. Some trade estimates for its data make
be strictly limited. Otherwise, it may make trate. Feeding pellets to dairy                   Zinc methionine         5g           Lactating dairy cow
     these also range higher, to at least 10m tonnes. them impossible to answer with more than – and probably of a more reliable and regular
the milk with a peculiar smell. Conditioning cows gives the ability to package
                                                                                                                                    Prenatal 1 week,
        China’s pivotal role in cereal supply and an educated guess. It’s also possible that quality too. The quality factor is clearly an
is a key factor in pelleting for starch pasting minerals, buffers, rumen modifiers           Propylene glycol     0.25-0.5 kg
                                                                                                                                    postnatal 2 China
     demand extends to its position in the table China is looking at world cereal prices that incentive for the wheat purchases too.weeks
and sterilization, improving the quality of and other ingredients required
     of global grain stockholders. The 57m tonnes have collapsed by almost 30 percent in recent has always liked to use some higher grade
grain, grain hardness and durability including in small quantities in a homog-
     of wheat and 55m tonnes of maize China is months to their cheapest in over a year (almost foreign milling wheat to improve the strength
material moisture content, retention time, enous way. There is nothing inherently
     reckoned to store in its strategic reserves is three years in the case of forward maize of its flour grist and this season’s emphasis is
and the temperature.                                special about cow feed pelleting technology      More InforMatIon:
     equivalent to one third of all world stocks of deliveries) and thinking this is a good time to on US soft red winter milling wheat suggests
    Feed additives have an obvious effect on but particle size, mixing time, conditioning
     cereals. Does China really hold these large build up the reserve stocks it has always liked Email: massive noodle
                                                                                                        the bulk is going to China’s
improve milk yield and milk composition and degree, feed additives dosage should all be                Website:
     stocks and/or is their quality (some of it would to hold for food security. Imported maize is industry, rather than being imported as a feed
reduced milk production stress, but should considered.
     be very old) highly questionable? These are cheap compared with China’s own production substitute for maize.

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26 | July - august 2013
      Grain feed millinG technoloGy
                                                                                                                                                Grain&feed millinG technoloGy | 45
                                                                                                                                                                July - august 2013
   The international wheat market has also        markets and a consequent drop in average            USDA has exports for the main three FSU
been enlivened by a surge in Brazilian buying     traded prices. On the leading bellwether            suppliers at 32m tonnes (25m last season).
from countries like the USA as it seeks to        cereal markets of the USA, this is having less      This also assumes the Black Sea suppliers will
replace supplies that would normally have         impact so far because of the Chinese business       also attempt to rebuild their depleted stocks
come from its main source, Argentina, (where      and because traders there want to see their         as well as raise their own domestic feeding
wheat crops have been in decline in recent        rebounding maize crop proved and ‘in the            of wheat.
years due to government interference in           bins’ – a situation still a month or two away as       Maize production in the Black Sea region is
export trade).                                    this issue went to press. However, along with       also expected to expand, from 33m tonnes to
   Barely into the new marketing year, the US     Europe’s own crop rebound, the CIS recovery         a post-Soviet-era record of almost 40m, again
has already sold over 1.1m tonnes of milling      is having quite an effect on EU cereal prices.      allowing a big surge in export supplies. The lion’s
                                                                                                      share of these will be coiming from the Ukraine
                                                                                                      which has been already begun aggressively-
                                                                                                      priced forward marketing of its crop to south
                                                                                                      east Asian customers like South Korea.
                                                                                                         But for maize, the key issue this month
                                                                                                      remains the size of the US crop recovery
                                                                                                      which will be largely defined by the weather
                                                                                                      from late July onward. So far this has been
                                                                                                      benign. While up to 2m or 3m acres of planned
                                                                                                      area might not have been sown due to rain
                                                                                                      delays – which also made for later germination
                                                                                                      and development, the bulk of crop has had a
wheat to Brazil – 20 times as much as at this     On the Paris MATIF milling and London feed          roaring start with plenty of moisture. A recent
time last year.                                   wheat futures markets, prices have already          warmup but without extreme heat and plenty
   Between them, China and Brazil, now the        collapsed to their lowest levels since early        of forecast showers will be welcome for the
world’s second and third-largest wheat import     last year.                                          key pollination phase (which will be more or
customers respectively, have caused a big            Looking at the cheap prices for forward          less over by the time this issue hits the press).
increase in US total wheat export sales for       deliveries being offered by Russia and Ukraine         Recent US maize crop estimates have
the season to date – even at a time when the      across the board of cereals – wheat, maize and      settled around the 350/355 tonne level – an
US is pricing its wheat far too expensively to    barley – the European and global markets for        increase of 80m tonnes or 30 percent on last
compete in more traditional markets like the      cereals seem likely to continue to point ‘south.’   year’s and, if it comes to pass, a new record
Mid-East/North Africa region (MENA) and           Some recent bank surveys, not always noted          level. This will leave ample supplies for the
non-Chinese South-east Asia. These two have       for their bearish attitude towards cereal prices    US to expand its corn consumption by the
also helped replace business lost to former top   have been talking of a further 10 percent loss      25m tonnes predicted by USDA, raise its
wheat buyer Egypt which has slashed wheat         for last half 2013.                                 contribution to world export supplies by over
imports this year due to financing difficulties      A snapshot of the main components in             15m tonnes and still have enough left over to
in the wake of its political upheavals.           2013/14 cereal supply starts with the Black         bump up next year’s carryover stocks from this
   As the trade had been expecting for many       Sea wheat crops, expected to rise by about          year’s wafer thin 18.5m tonnes to a hefty 50m.
months past, the advent of harvests across        a third from last year’s drought reduced               Even without the above-mentioned increase
the Black Sea region – weeks early than usual     level. The USDA is predicting almost 103m           in Black Sea maize supplies, this is a pretty
in some cases – is leading to intense early       tonnes (plus 25m tonnes) while some trade           bearish scenario – but that is by no means all
season selling pressure on global wheat export    estimates range from 4m to 9m tonnes lower.         of the maize story.
                                                                                                                          Perhaps the biggest surprise
                                                                                                                       as we go to press has been a
                                                                                                                       steep upward revision for the
                                                                                                                       Argentine crop harvested last
                                                                                                                       spring, from 26m to 32.1m
                                                                                                                       tonnes – a new record and 50
                                                                                                                       percent up on the year. That
                                                                                                                       comes on top of a 77m tonne
                                                                                                                       (some say higher) Brazilian
                                                                                                                       harvest which is up by 4m
                                                                                                                       tonnes and also a second
                                                                                                                       consecutive record crop. These
                                                                                                                       are unprecedented quantities
                                                                                                                       of maize flowing out of Latin
                                                                                                                       America at prices that, like the
                                                                                                                       Ukrainian maize, will continue
                                                                                                                       to keep US exporters on their
                                                                                                                       toes for some time yet. This
                                                                                                                       may make it hard for the US
                                                                                                                       to attain its currently planned
                                                                                                                       revival in expor t to 33m
                                                                                                                       tonnes, resulting in it ending
                                                                                                                       up with even larger carryover
                                                                                                                       stocks next summer.

46 | July - august 2013                                                                                        Grain &feed millinG technoloGy

                                                                                                            bin following a policy in which an employer
                                                                                                            requiring employees to maintain a minimum
   The abundance of maize goes on. South           returning to their normal premium, they may              distance of six feet from the around 38m
                                                                                                           an extra 47m tonnes, equal to sweep auger.
Africa’s crop is also a big one, up on last        ultimately get dragged lower as maize prices             In a more meal. 29, 2008 Interpretation
                                                                                                           tonnes September With increases in rapeseed
year’s and currently vying for export trade        succumb further to the growing global crop              and sunflowerseed crops, the total oilseed gain
                                                                                                            Letter from OSHA responding to the insur-
at cheaper prices than the US can offer.           outlook for this grain. Wheat’s rally last year          ance agent’s request, OSHA consumption
                                                                                                           is closer to 51m tonnes. Worldexplained that
Here in the European Union, meanwhile,             was, after all, partly justified by the strength of     of oilmeals in total over the same period is
                                                                                                            1910.272(g)(1)(ii) governed this scenario,
maize production has recently been revised         the maize market. We should also remember                and concluded grow by 12m, however. pro-
                                                                                                           only projected to that employees were That
up from 63.9m to 65.6m tonnes. EU maize            that world wheat stocks are estimated at 24.6            hibited from being inside material supply
                                                                                                           leaves a lot of the extra raw grain bins with
consumption estimates have risen too this          percent of consumption needs whereas maize              unaccounted for in terms of its disposal. A
                                                                                                            energized sweep augers unless the employer
month, from 67.8m to 70m, compared with            stocks are equal to only 16 percent - so why             could will go to building stocks of oilseeds –
                                                                                                           lot of itdemonstrate that appropriate protec-
the past season’s 69m. However, EU imports         is wheat so relatively expensive?                        tions were in cushion prevent exposure
                                                                                                           providing a goodplace to prior to next year’s
will clearly be able to drop from the mammoth                                                               to the hazards of the moving machinery.
10m needed last year to offset tightness in                                                                 OSHA offered two (not so helpful) meth-
the cereal feeding sector (and in the process                                                               ods by which employers could comply: (1)
enable the EU to export wheat freely and                                                                    completely guarding the auger (including the
exploit last year’s Black Sea crop shortfalls                                                               flighting that contacts the grain); or (2) using
and consequent higher world prices.                                                                         a rope position system (i.e., a human leash)
   The relationship between maize and                                                                       to prevent employee contact with energized
wheat prices, especially in the feed sector,                                                                equipment. A policy requiring employees
remains a talking point this month. Using the                                                               to remain at least six feet from the sweep
rough comparisons from the Chicago futures                                                                  auger, according to OSHA, was not an “oth-
markets, maize prices for November delivery                                                                 erwise equally effective means or method”
have now dropped to around $212 per tonne                                                                   to satisfy 1910.272(g)(1)(ii).
from $290 in the spring and about $300 late                                                                     The insurance agent sent a second
last year. Wheat on the other hand is quoting                                                               request to OSHA for further clarification,
closer to $250. While wheat has an intrinsic          Abundant supplies are also arriving on the           crops. However, it could also be drawn on in
                                                                                                            explaining that a sweep auger could not
higher value as a predominantly food crop          oilmeal/protein markets, thanks largely to               be guarded on crush/meal demand func-
                                                                                                           the interim if worldthe front and still turns
versus maize with its emphasis on feed/            record large soyabean crops, complimented                tion, and than expected and that system
                                                                                                           out higherthat the rope positioning should
industrial outlets, prices of the two grains ran   by increases in rapeseed and sunflowerseed              put some restraint on protein prides going
                                                                                                            OSHA suggested would be “extremely dan-
neck and neck for much of the past year, with      supplies too.                                           forward. OSHA responded with another
wheat often offered at a significant discount.        Over the two marketing years from 2012/13                The full impact of these Christmas Eve of
                                                                                                            Interpretation Letter onsupply increases has
   While wheat prices do now seem to be            to 2013/14, world soya supplies have gained              2009 explicitly barring be felt in from being
                                                                                                           only recently begun toemployeesthe oilmeal


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  Grain &feed millinG technoloGy
         feed millinG technoloGy                                                                                                       July - august 2013 || 47
                                                                                                                                       July - august 2013 31
markets as the record South American crops         • Canadian, Australian and Argentine crops          • Earlier delays marketing record Latin
were harvested a bit later than usual and their      are all expected to rise this season – by a         American crops means these will be
passage to market delayed by farmer and port-        combined 8m tonnes, possibly more. These            competing with the US later into second
worker strikes, keeping importer demand              are all quality bread-wheat producers who           half of trhe calendar year than usual.
directed toward dwindling US supplies.               will be able to keep world markets well           • CIS countries are likely to remain cheap maize
   However, with the US new crops now just           supplied with these grades. US spring wheat         suppliers as they seek to dispose of record
around the corner and the delayed South              is in very good condition too, another              crops. However, big the US crop, its customers
American exports staggered much later into the       important component of the quality wheat            will have more choice in the year ahead.
calendar year than usual, competition for buyers     market.                                           • Europe’s own maize crop rebound should
                                                                                • India’s crop           cut its import needs.
                                                                                might have been        • US corn consumption for both feed and
                                                                                over-rated by as         ethanol is expected to increase in 2013/14
                                                                                much as 5m to 7m         but its expected record crop should easily
                                                                                tonnes but it still      accommodate that.
                                                                                carries huge and       • Will China spring more surprises with its maize
                                                                                burdensome stocks.       import programme – a potentially bullish factor
                                                                                These will flow onto     for prices? At this stage, the demand foreseen
                                                                                world feed markets       by most analysts from this buyer should be
                                                                                if prices get frisky     easily absorbed by huge world supplies.
                                                                                again.                 • Funds and other speculators have had a
                                                                                • Chinese wheat          lean time recently finding reasons to invest
                                                                                impor ts have            in maize, other crop markets – indeed
                                                                                surged and we may        commodities per se. Their absence as big
is likely to be fierce in the weeks and months       not, by any means, yet have seen the end            buyers this season will be welcomed by
ahead. We are already seeing this in forward         of its purchasing programme for 2013/14.            consumers.
prices of soyabeans and meal, discounting spot       This factor maintains the potential to excite     • Looking further down the road, will Latin America
prices by as much as 15-20 percent. Some             markets and stiffen prices from time to time.       maize producers sow smaller crops as prides
sources see these coming down by a further         • Middle Eastern/Nor th African wheat                 drop on world markets amid the competition for
10 percent, 15 percent, even 20 percent as we        importers have been very active recently,           markets? So far, the USDA is expecting Argentina
move into 2014. Whichever way the euro/dollar        taking advantage of cheaper wheat prices            to keep expanding but Brazil to producer less
exchange rate moves in the months ahead, this        to keep their stocks topped up at a time of         next year. Yet it is worth pointing out that the
looks promising for a period of cheaper costs        huge political upheaval around the region.          performance of both these suppliers (the second
for European meal consumers.                         Expect this trade to continue fairly brisk          and third biggest exporters) has been under-
                                                     but whether the world’s former top buyer            rated in recent years .
KEY FACTORS AHEAD –                                  Egypt can recapture that role remains
                                                     questionable – a possible dampener on             OILMEALS/PROTEINS
WHEAT                                                bullish sentiment.                                • Will the US get a record soyabean crop this
                                                   • A huge maize crop will keep wheat use in            year if recent favourable weather persists?
• Resurgent ‘Black Sea’ (former Soviet               feeds down below the peak level of two              The potential is now there. And how will US
  country) crops may not be quite as big as          years ago. But food and bio-fuel use will           exports perform as delayed Latin American
  the most inflated estimates floating on the        add about 3 percent or 20m tonnes to                marketings drag on into the late autumn/
  market recently but they are now making            world total wheat consumption, matching             early winter months?
  an impact on weaker wheat prices on                or exceeding by up to 10-20m tonnes the           • One big factor will be demand from the
  international markets. The price downtrend         projected global production forecast (this          world’s top soya importer China. USDA
  is helping to constantly chip away at EU           currently ranges between 680m and 700m              expects to to import 69m tonnes – 10m
  wheat, barley and maize costs. Watch for           tonnes). That means little or no stock growth       more than last season but Chinese officials
  possible government intervention in Russia         or even stock depletion. Nonetheless the            and some western trade analysts think the
  and Ukraine to support prices and rebuild          global wheat inventory remains large in             figure will be closer to 64/68m tonnes.
  depleted reserve stocks but we don’t               relation to consumption needs.                      China’s own crush is only expected to
  expect this to have more than temporary                                                                grow by 3m tonnes and its economy is
  stalling effect.                                 MAIZE                                                 slowing. Lower than expected Chinese
• Sunshine and warm weather came just              • Did the US manage to plant all its planned          imports will more more soyabean stock
  at the right time to jump start lagging            (97.4m acres) area or will this fall perhaps        buildup in exporting countries. The global
  West European cereal crops and improve             2m to 3m acres short of target after rain           soyabean stock is already expected to
  quality potential. Yield estimates have            delays to sowing? And will farmers get the          jump from last year’s 61.5m to a record
  risen after the earlier abundant rains and         high national average yield of 156.5 bu/acree       74m tonnes.
  output nudging 140m tonnes (133m last              yield expected by USDA? Our sources               • EU and CIS rapeseed and sunflowerseed and
  year) is more likely by the day. Europe has        expect some trimming of harvest area but            Canadian canola crops - now appear to be
  already begun a another fairly aggressive          with mostly ideal conditions for pollination        turning out larger than expected, pushing up
  export campaign and – assuming again that          (cool and damp) and some spells of warm             global oilseed supplies to a new record 493m
  there will be plenty of backup from cheap          showery weather too, yields might well              tones. That’s over 50m tonnes (11.6%) higher
  imported maize – may continue on this path         offset that. Either way, it will be a very big      than two years ago. Global oilmeal consumption
  rather than rebuilding depleted EU stocks          US crop. ‘Weather-risk premium’ is still built      next season is forecast at 274m tones – up by
  (the past seasons EU maize imports hit a           into US maize prices. Expect more of this           less than 12m tonnes over the two year period.
  modern record of 10.5m tonnes and at least         to be whittled away as the crop starts to           No wonder forward meal markets are pointing
  7m is expected to come in this season).            arrive.                                             ‘south.’

48 | July - august 2013                                                                                         Grain &feed millinG technoloGy
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Description: When things start to go awry in China – the world’s top wheat producer and largest consumer of cereals in total, there’s bound to be a market impact. Such has been the case over the past month, as a grain market confidently expecting much improved global supplies - and consequent lower costs - found its attention diverted instead to an upsurge in Chinese grain import purchases. China’s problem