Industrial use of grains continues rising

by Morton Sosland
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LONDON — Industrial use of grain – for making fuel, starch and beer — was seen by the International Grains Council as rising 2% in 2014-15 and setting a new record. The total of grains the I.G.C. determined will be processed industrially in the new season was 318.3 million tonnes, compared with 313.2 million in 2013-14 and 296 million in 2012-13.

Maize, or corn, will continue to account for most of the industrial grain use, estimated at 258.4 million tonnes in 2014-15, against 255.2 million in the preceding year. The barley forecast for 2014-15 was 30.3 million tonnes, against 30 million in 2013-14. Global industrial use of wheat in the new season was projected at 19.3 million tonnes, against 18.6 million in the preceding year.

Slightly more than half of the worldwide industrial use of grain occurred in the United States, where the total was 164.4 million tonnes, up a little from 164 million in the previous year and compared with 153.9 million in 2012-13.

The European Union, in total, was forecast to use 35.4 million tonnes of grain for industrial purposes, up 1 million from 2013-14. Canada was projected to process 6.3 million tonnes, the same as in the prior season.

In commenting on the demand outlook, the I.G.C. said, “Large global grain supplies should keep raw material costs attractive in the year ahead, especially for maize-based starch and ethanol production, while strengthening economic growth will help to bolster demand for industrial products.”

The Council said that most of the demand growth in the new crop year will be linked to rising consumption of starch-based products. It explained that starch is used as an ingredient in many processed foods as well as in non-food applications. The latter include adhesives, paper and textile manufacturing, construction and pharmaceuticals.

For 2014-15, the I.G.C. forecast world grain use for making starch at 111 million tonnes, up 3% from 108.2 million in the previous season.

Global use of grains to make ethanol, as well as biofuels, will account for processing of 168.8 million tonnes, against 167.4 million in 2013-14 and 156.1 million in 2012-13.

While the United States continues far in the lead as a manufacturer of ethanol, its output “is now close to the maximum level for the most common E10 blend,” the I.G.C. said. As a result, gains are occurring in countries like Argentina, Brazil and the E.U.

World use of grains for brewing in 2014-15 was forecast at 37.5 million tonnes, against 36.7 million in 2013-14 and 35.6 million in 2012-13.

“Reduced raw material costs have been beneficial for the global brewing sector, especially for beer producers,” the I.G.C. noted. It added that beer demand was showing robust growth in South America and in a number of countries in Pacific Asia.
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