EACH year, Israel imports between 2.4 and 2.5 million metric tons of feed grains, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The product mix of corn, feed wheat, barley, sorghum, oats and rye changes from year to year, depending on prices for delivery to Israeli ports from various points of origin in the region.
While the Ukraine and Russia — among other Black Sea sources — have dominated the Israeli market for corn, feed wheat and barley due to proximity and the resulting freight advantage over the U.S. and South America, the U.S. Grains Council recently suggested that this trend may soon be changing.
"U.S. market share of this grain market of roughly 8 million people has seen a decline lately, but we're seeing it start to return," said Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council regional director for the Middle East and Africa.
Sifferath recently traveled to Israel to meet with key feed grain importers, to present findings from the 2013-14 "Corn Export Cargo Quality Report" and to get a feel for the potential for additional U.S. grain sales to the country.
"Just recently, three vessels of U.S. corn were loaded for May shipment to Israel," Sifferath said. "Plus, there was a recent tender by one major importer for July corn shipments, and the U.S. will meet that order."
In the marketing year that began Sept. 1, Israel has imported 205,000 tons (8 million bu.) of U.S. corn for May and June shipment. Sifferath is projecting another 64,000 tons (2.5 million bu.) for July shipment.
Israel remains a steady, longtime customer of U.S. corn co-products, including dried distillers grains plus solubles (DDGS) and corn gluten feed. The country's dairy sector heavily uses DDGS and corn gluten feed in rations, with some DDGS also earmarked for poultry consumption.
"We expect to see Israel continue to import U.S. DDGS and (corn gluten feed)," Sifferath said. "There's a possibility of increase in both due to shortages of forage and fiber-based feed ingredients."