Another large Chinese purchase of U.S. corn shows the country’s recent surge in buying continues as it rebuilds its swine herd and grows its poultry sector.

The USDA announced Wednesday an export sale of 420,000 metric tons of U.S. corn to China.

“I saw the sale this morning and China could be our biggest customer this year,” said Lesly McNitt, director of public policy and trade for the National Corn Growers Association. “We are seeing tremendous purchases.”

Outstanding sales of U.S. corn – the amount of purchases that have not yet been shipped – to China as of Oct. 1 totaled about 8.9 million tons, according to the latest weekly trade data out of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. A year ago that total was zero. And the sales to China are significantly boosting overall U.S. export sales. Total outstanding U.S. corn export sales as of Oct. 1 were about 22 million tons.

Physical corn exports to China are also continuing to surge. China was again the biggest corn importer during the Sept. 25-Oct. 1 period. The U.S. shipped 349,900 tons of corn to China in that week-long period, according to FAS data.

In the previous seven-day period of Sept. 18-24, China imported 269,900 tons of U.S. corn.

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