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US hog producers to import wheat

US hog producers are to import wheat from Britain and Brazil due to the high cost of US corn and feed grain, said Don Butler, spokesman for Murphy-Brown, the hog-raising unit of Smithfield Foods.

World's largest wheat exporter
The United States is the world's largest wheat exporter and it is rarely economical to import feed grain. However, a dramatic drop in ocean freight has made foreign wheat more economical than US supplies, Butler said.

The first two vessels will arrive in Wilmington, North Carolina, in the first week of December. The other shipments will arrive in January and February. Two cargoes will be from Britain and one cargo from Brazil, which imported US wheat earlier this year when supplies were not available from neighbouring Argentina.

Wheat cargoes are normally 25,000 to 55,000 tonnes, depending on the size of the vessel but the amount of wheat in each cargo was not specified. "The shipment of wheat will offer us an alternative to very expensive corn," Butler said. "I can't get into specifics but it's not an insignificant volume."

Struggled against high feed prices
US meat producers have struggled this year with high prices for feed and fuel and the inability to raise meat prices quickly enough given the economic slowdown.

US corn Cc1 and wheat Wc1 prices hit record highs earlier this year but prices have since fallen. US wheat, however, remains among the most expensive in the world, with cheaper supplies available from both Europe and the Black Sea region.

Source: Reuters

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