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Use of wheat as silage due to insufficient supplies of corn

By ZHAO YIMENG | China Daily | Updated: 2022-05-18 09:57

The harvesting of unripe green wheat for silage, which recently raised concerns, was due to shortages of corn silage at a few cow breeding farms in North China's plain area, a dairy industry official said on Tuesday.

Chen Shaohu, deputy secretary-general of the Dairy Association of China, said that the storage of corn silage had been insufficient due to severe autumn floods last year, so a few cow breeders had to plant or buy wheat silage for emergency use.

"Most of the breeding farms rotated crops to plant wheat on the land designated for supporting forage use. Some farms bought unripe wheat planted nearby, but not on a big scale. The actual purchasing price wasn't as high as indicated in the online speculation," Chen said.

Videos circulated on social media showed green wheat fields being destroyed. Some explained in the videos that the wheat was harvested ahead of schedule and sold at a higher price as wheat silage.

Chen said relevant cow breeding farms have stopped purchasing unripe wheat, which is supposed to be harvested in June, for producing staple food rather than consumed as silage.

Given silage shortages faced by some farms, the association is connecting breeding farms with forage enterprises to strengthen provisions.

"The shortage of silage for large-scale dairy farms in the area is about 400,000 metric tons, which is not large and can be resolved," Chen said.

"This kind of emergency use of wheat silage happened in previous years and the amount was also small," he said.

"However, considering high public concerns over ensuring national food security, the association has issued a proposal to the entire industry to stop using wheat as silage," he added.

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