A lower protein content in 2009 U.S. corn has led Japanese feed manufacturers to switch some of their purchases to Brazil and Argentina, Business Week reported. Japanese grain importers are also concerned about possible mycotoxin contamination due to wet weather in much of the U.S. last growing season.

From January through June, Japan is set to import more than 500,000 metric tons of corn from Brazil, compared to 46,702 metric tons during all of 2009, Nobuyuki Chino, president of Unipac Grain Ltd., told Business Week.

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U.S. corn accounted for 96% of Japan’s 11 million tons of feed corn imports in 2009, according to the magazine. The lower protein content in last year’s corn was a result of lower fertilizer use, a senior economist at Norinchukin Research Institute Co. said.