“We’re not waiting anymore for an announcement of a shortage. The government should have known by now how much of the corn crop was damaged and will be damaged by El Niño, but they are still in a wait-and-see mode, something we cannot endure since it is our business that will suffer,” an official of the Philippine Association of Feed Millers said.
The shortfall in corn production this year “may compromise poultry and livestock output,” the official said.
Poultry farmers last year were forced to substitute feed wheat for a portion of the corn in their animal feeds. The result was tragic as they were forced to cull breeders that did not perform well.
“Poultry is purely corn. Pigs can thrive on corn substitutes like feed wheat. But chicken on feed wheat diet has stunted growth. Even layers have problems laying more and quality eggs,” the official said.
For the first semester feed millers already booked 550,000 tonnes of feed wheat, of which about half had already arrived and been stored in private warehouses. In 2009, feed wheat imports totalled 1.1 million tonnes.
The feed wheat was mostly contracted from Brazil and Ukraine at $210-$215 per tonne and with a 7% import tariff cheaper than corn.
The feed millers also booked 50,000 tonnes of corn from Thailand for March-April delivery.
Government is saying that the persisting dry spell may destroy as much as about 440,429 tonnes of corn.