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Local wheat too expensive for feeders

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

Hog producers will also import a cargo of wheat middlings, a byproduct of milling, from Nigeria, he said. 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 U. S. supplies, Butler said.

Two cargoes will be from Britain and one cargo from Brazil, which imported U. S. wheat earlier this year when supplies were not available from neighbouring Argentina.

Murphy-Brown and Smithfield are part of Wilmington Bulk LLC, a consortium of hog and poultry producers that also includes Nash Johnson & Sons and Prestige Farms Inc. Wilmington Bulk last imported grain about two to three years ago, Butler said.

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