US Beef Exports Set Value Record; Pork Sees Volume Peak

Last year set records for US red meat exports with beef value and pork volume setting record highs, according to USDA data.

The US Meat Export Federation compiled the data that showed beef export value exceeding $7 billion for only the second time and pork exports easily surpassing the 2016 volume record.




Annual beef exports totaled 1.263 million tonnes, up 76,406 tonnes, or 6.44% from 1.187 million in 2016.  This was the fourth largest volume on record and the second largest of the post-Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or Mad Cow disease, era.

USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom said in a release that the US beef industry gained significant market share in Japan despite considerable obstacles.

Beef export value reached $7.269 billion, up $926.2 million, or 14.6% from $6.343 billion in 2016 and $143 million, or 1.88% above the previous high of $7.135 billion in 2014.

For December only, beef export value was up $53.822 million, or 8.69% from $619.123 million a year ago to $672.945 million, the second highest of 2017 and the third highest on record.  December volume, at 113,269 tonnes, was down 3,578 tonnes, or 3.06% from 116,847 tonnes a year ago.

Beef exports accounted for 12.9% of total production in 2017 and 10.4% for muscle cuts only, down from 13.7% and 10.5%, respectively, in 2016.  Beef export value averaged $286.38 a head of fed slaughter, up about 9% from 2016 and the second highest on record, trailing only the $300.36 average posted in 2014.

Japan solidified its position as the leading market for US beef in 2017 with volume climbing 19% from 2016 to 307,559 tonnes and value up 25% to $1.89 billion for new post-BSE records.




Pork exports totaled 2.449 million tonnes in 2017, breaking the 2016 record of 2.311 million by 137,882, or 5.97%.  Export value was $6.486 billion, up $545.3 million, or 9.18% from $5.941 billion in 2016 and the second highest on record, trailing only 2014’s $6.65 billion.

For December only, pork export value was up $26.932 million, or 4.77% from 2016’s $564.2 million to $591.1 million.  This was the second highest total of 2017, trailing only the record $615.8-million value achieved in November.  December volume of 219,809 tonnes was down 2,829 tonnes, or 1.27%, from 222,635 a year earlier.

Pork exports accounted for 26.6% of total production in 2017 and 22.3% for muscle cuts only, each up nearly one full percentage point from a year ago.  Pork export value averaged $53.47 per head slaughtered, up 6% from 2016.

Strong demand for US hams set the pace for the sixth straight volume record for pork exports to Mexico at 801,887 tonnes, up 10% from 2016.




Only 126 head of fed cattle were sold Wednesday on the Livestock Exchange video auction at $126 per cwt.  None were sold last week.

The USDA is reporting scattered sales in the Plains at $126.50 to $127 per cwt on a live basis, up $0.50 to $1 from last week, and a few on a dressed basis at a steady $200.

The USDA’s choice cutout Wednesday was up $0.94 per cwt at $209.37, while select was up $0.41 at $203.14.  The choice/select spread widened to $6.23 from $5.70 with 94 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Tuesday, was $148.10 per cwt, up $0.15.  This compares with Wednesday’s Mar settlement of $148.30, down $0.42.