Industrial use of grains rises to record

by Morton Sosland
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LONDON — Global industrial use (excluding food, feed and seed) of grains in the 2009-10 season will reach a record 257 million tonnes, according to estimates by the International Grains Council. At the indicated level, industrial use accounts for 15% of expected global grain disappearance in 2009-10. The latter will reach 1,744 million tonnes.

Feed use still stands as the ranking outlet for global grain, forecast to reach 752.2 million tonnes. That would be 43% of aggregate disappearance.

Food use in 2009-10 was projected by the I.G.C. at 609.7 million tonnes, representing 35% of the global total.

Aggregate disappearance of grain in 2009-10 of 1,744 million tonnes, based on the I.G.C. calculations, will be up only slightly more than 1% from the prior season. Feed use was expected to rise by 0.3% and the food use forecast was up 0.6% from 2008-09.

Industrial use of all grains, at 257 million tonnes, will be up 8% from the prior year’s 239 million tonnes. That increase fell short of the rise of 10% in the prior year and 16% in 2007-08.

Of the various industrial uses, ethanol, for both non-fuel purposes and for fuel, accounted for 135.7 million tonnes, against 119.3 million in 2008-09 and 97.3 million in 2007-08. Other industrial uses were quite stable, including starch at 86.8 million tonnes, ag0ainst 85.6 million in 2008-09; brewing at 33.4 million, compared with 33.1 million, and “other” at 1.1 million, compared with 1 million.

Use of grains to make biofuels continued as the major cause of growth in industrial use, the I.G.C. said.

Grains used for biofuels in 2009-10 were forecast to total 124.9 million tonnes, up 15% from 108.9 million in the previous crop year. The latter was up 24% from 87.6 million in 2007-08. The latter represented a gain of 36% over the prior season.

Pointing to the importance of U.S. use to growth of ethanol output, the I.G.C. pointed out that America would be making a record 108.5 million tonnes of grain into ethanol this year. That is 87% of global use for ethanol. At the same time, the expected U.S. rise, of 13%, was less than half the average growth in the preceding five years. This slowing was attributed to the approach of output to mandated levels of use in blending with gasoline.

Looking at other industrial users, the Council said new plants in the European Union and increased capacity utilization were likely to boost grain use in making ethanol by 42% to 7.8 million tonnes.

In Canada, where grain use in making ethanol will total 2.6 million tonnes, the I.G.C. said that its output may fall short of the renewable fuels mandate. This may necessitate some ethanol imports into Canada.
China’s use of grains to make ethanol has held steady for several years at near 4.9 million tonnes. The I.G.C. said this resulted from official efforts to limit non-food use of grains.

So far as use of individual grains in making ethanol is concerned, the I.G.C. estimated that corn (maize) will account for 93% of grains processed into ethanol. That was 116.1 million tonnes of maize out of the global total of 124.9 million.

Wheat was a distant second in grains used to make ethanol, with its total in 2009-10 at 5.5 million, compared with 3.9 million in 2008-09. Grain sorghum provided 2.3 million tonnes, barley 0.8 million and other 0.2 million.

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