China's use of wheat in animal feed is predicted to grow 6 percent in 2013, to 12.4 million metric tons, with imports increasing to meet the needs domestic production alone can't fulfill, according to agricultural researchers.

The country's wheat production is expected to rise slightly in 2013, to 118.3 million metric tons from 118.1 million metric tons in 2012, said Bi Jieying, assistant professor at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Consumption is expected to increase to 119.6 million metric tons from 119.1 million metric tons. "Our consumption will increase and there is a decrease in the sowed area, so there is not much potential for an increase in production," said Jieying. "There is already a gap of around 1 million metric tons in production and consumption. Imports will continue to increase in the coming years."

China's wheat imports are estimated to hit 3 million metric tons in 2013.