2021 Beef Exports Jump Ahead Of 2020

US beef exports last year greatly exceeded previous volume and value records, surpassing $10 billion for the first time, according to year-end data released by the USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation.

Pork exports finished 2021 slightly below the record volume reached in 2020 but set a new value record, topping $8 billion for the first time, the USMEF said.




December beef exports totaled 121,429 tonnes, up 1,536, or 1.28%, from 119,893 a year earlier, the USMEF said.  Value climbed $247.834 million, or 33.3%, to $991.830 million – the third largest month on record – from $743.996 million a year earlier.

Those results pushed 2021 volume to 1.440 million tonnes, up 185,000, or 14.7%, from 1.255 million a year ago and 87,000 tonnes, or 6.43%, above the previous record of 1.353 million tonnes set in 2018, the USMEF said.

Beef export value last year soared to $10.576 billion, up $2.927 billion, or 38.3%, from $7.649 billion in 2020 and shattering the previous record of $8.332 billion (also from 2018) by $2.244 billion, or 26.9%, the USMEF said.

Japan remained the leading volume destination for US beef exports in 2021 at 320,737 tonnes, up 5% from 2020 and the second largest of the post-BSE era, the USMEF said.  Export value climbed 22% to a record $2.376 billion but finished a close second to South Korea.

The US beef industry remains concerned about Japan’s import safeguard, which resulted in a higher tariff rate being imposed in late March and early April of last year, the USMEF said.  A similar scenario is possible in 2022 and highly likely in years to come.




US pork exports trended lower in December, falling 43,782 tonnes, or 16.9%, from 259,654 tonnes a year ago to 215,872 tonnes, the USMEF said.  They were valued at $604.299 million, down $82.879 million, or 12.1%, from $687.178 million in 2020.

For 2021, export volume was 2.922 million tonnes, down 55,000, or 1.85%, from the 2020 record of 2.977 million, the USMEF said, but export value still climbed $392.0 million. or 5.08%, to a record $8.107 billion from 2020’s $7.715 billion.

Mexico reclaimed its position as the leading volume destination for US pork in 2021, with exports climbing to a record 874,589 tonnes – up 27% from a year ago and eclipsing the 2017 record by 9%, the USMEF said.  Export value also set a new record at $1.68 billion, up 45% from 2020 and 11% above the 2017 record.




The USDA reported formula and contract base prices for live FOB steers and heifers this week ranged from $139.02 to $141.74 per cwt, compared with last week’s range of $136.90 to $138.57.  FOB dressed steers and heifers went for $216.43 to $220.45 per cwt, versus $214.07 to $217.14.

The USDA choice cutout Thursday was down $0.97 per cwt at $274.82, while select was off $3.10 at $268.95.  The choice/select spread widened to $3.87 from $3.74 with 131 loads of fabricated product and 27 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.

The USDA reported that basis bids for corn from feeders in the Southern Plains were steady at $1.40 to $1.50 a bushel over the Mar futures and for southwest Kansas were unchanged at $0.20 over Mar, which settled at $6.41 3/4 a bushel, down $0.05.

Ten steer contracts were retendered for delivery against Feb at two on Thursday with three demanded at two and seven reclaimed at two.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Wednesday was $162.73 per cwt up $0.69.  This compares with Thursday’s Mar contract settlement of $166.72 per cwt, down $1.55.