China may harvest less corn this year than last based on field conditions observed by Gary Clark, Missouri Corn Growers Association and Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, and Todd Meyer, USGC senior director in China, during the U.S. Grains Council’s 2007 tour of China’s major corn regions.

“Analysts are reporting anywhere from an increase of 4 to 5 million tons (157.4 to 196.8 million bushels) to a decrease of up to 8 million tons (314.9 million bushels),” Meyer said. “Our general impression is China’s crop will be lower than last year, perhaps by a significant amount.”

The group toured corn fields in the north China plain and northeast regions, which produce nearly 70 percent of China’s corn on average. Meyer noted that some fields which the tour visited for the fourth or fifth consecutive year would have very low yields this year compared to previous harvests.

“There has been regional drought and insect pressure, the effects of which are pretty significant in some areas,” he said. Based upon observations, Meyer expects yields in the north China plain to be near the average, but yields in the northeast provinces will moderately decrease.

“They have some issues with corn borer and rootworm,” observed Clark, who is also a member of the USGC Asia Advisory Team. “The use of biotechnology could be a plus for the Chinese producer, helping their overall yield consistency and quality.” Meyer noted that several biotech products are in various stages of approval in China.

The Council has been conducting the corn tour in China for several years due to a lack of reliable, timely information from other sources.