A prolonged drought curtailing domestic grain production might compel Australia to import more U.S. dried distillers grains (DDGs) in the future, according to the U.S. Grains Council. The action would be necessary to help keep Australia's livestock industries going, said U.S. Grains Council Chairman Dale Artho, a Texas grain producer.
During a USGC tour of Australia, Singapore and the Philippines, Artho said Australian feed millers has agreed to a feeding trial using imported U.S. DDGs. “What they're looking for is some energy and protein for their rations. And since DDGs are cooked, you don't have the problem with weeds or other foreign material being in it. It's a clean product, and the quarantine laws shouldn't be as strict.”
Australia's quarantine laws include capturing dust from offloading grain and transporting to a landfill. “A truckload of grain is sealed by an inspector prior to leaving for its destination, then it's opened by an inspector when it reaches its destination. They have some costly operations, but they are very environmentally conscious.”
He said that Australian feed millers would likely continue importing its bulk grain needs from Argentina, primarily because of cheaper transportation costs.
Artho said producers in Australia “have had some rains which helped their subsoil moisture. They were just started to sow wheat, and over in the primary grain-producing region, they had a good sorghum crop. But their grain stocks are still down. It's still going to take some time to get all that moved around.”
There were other gains made by USGC on the tour. “In the Philippines, we learned that a lot of the DDGs coming out of the United States are being shipped by containers, and because of the economy in the United States, the container shipments to the United States are slowing down and the ability to backfill the containers with DDGs and other products is also slowing down.
“This will probably force these countries into larger and larger bulk shipments instead of just-in-time amounts of DDGs. It's also going to become more of a blended product from several plants.”
The group visited Singapore to meet with major trading companies primarily to “smooth over regulatory processes and to maintain relationships.”