RPT-Brazil meat industry resorts to wheat as stopgap for scarce corn

jueves 9 de junio de 2016 07:00 GYT

(Repeats with no change)

By Reese Ewing and Roberto Samora

SAO PAULO, June 9 (Reuters) - Brazil's troubled poultry and pork producers are resorting to feeding their animals wheat as an emergency substitute, a rare step for the industry as it struggles with the worst-ever shortage and record prices of corn, experts say.

The practice, not seen in a decade by one of the world's largest animal protein industries, underscores how soaring local corn prices and an unexpected supply crisis are spilling over into other commodities markets and forced the industry to seek alternatives.

In another twist in the months-long crisis, meat processors are having to feed their hogs and chickens higher-quality grain, normally used in flour for cookies or breads.

Supplies of lower animal-grade wheat sometimes mixed into feedstock have run out.

Traders at three cooperatives in the southern grain states reported isolated sales of wheat suitable for human consumption to animal feed producers in recent weeks.

"It's not that wheat is cheaper. It's just that there isn't any unsold corn around," one trader said at a cooperative in Parana state.

Traders in Parana quoted prices of soft wheat at 800 reais to 850 reais a tonne, which is equivalent to 48-to-51 reais a 60-kg bag. Corn has been quoted, but not easily found, at 50-to-60 reais a bag in the south until recently.   Continuación...