The Israeli Market
Israel imports annually about 5 million tons of grain and grain products.
90% of Israel's grain consumption is imported from the Americas and the Black Sea region while about 5% of the market comes from other sources including Australia, Canada and Kazakhstan.
The proximity of the Black Sea countries to Israel has the advantage of lower freight costs, whereas the US, as the largest world grain exporter, is often the most efficient source.
Israel's market adapts swiftly to grain price fluctuations due to its small size and the sophistication of the animal breeders.
Two ports are available for bulk commodities: Haifa, in the northern part of Israel, and Ashdod in the south.
There are three main categories of Israeli grain users: flour mills, oilseed crushing plants and the animal feed industry.
The flour mills import about one million tons of wheat annually, of which more than 50% originates from the Black Sea area.
The oilseed crushing plants import about half a million tons of oilseeds annually - soybeans (the most common) are imported from the US and South America, whereas sunseed and rapeseed are imported from Russia, Ukraine and other European countries.
The animal feed industry imports about three million tons of coarse grain and grain products per year - corn and sorghum are imported from America; feed wheat, barley, feed rye and corn are imported from the Black Sea countries.
Israeli compound producers also use imported corn gluten feed and DDGS (from the US), soybean meal (US or Argentine), and sunmeal and rapemeal from the Black Sea region.
Feed grains are used in producing compounds depending on the price/ feed ratio - so in a particular year corn could be the number one imported grain, and in others, feed wheat.
There are 18 wheat mills throughout the country, two crushing plants, six to seven large compound plants and dozens of smaller ones. End user groups have created syndicates of buyers in order to be more efficient in buying from America and other distant countries. The most well known groups are Shovre-Bar (feed compounders) and Yevulit (wheat buyers).
Major grain houses such as Cargill, ADM, Dreyfus, Bunge, Glencore and other smaller companies are Israel’s overseas suppliers.