August Beef Exports Strong; Pork Stumbles

US beef exports posted another strong month in August, remaining well above last year’s pace, according to data from the USDA’s Economic Research Service and the Foreign Agricultural Service and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation.

August pork exports rose from the previous month but lagged slightly when compared with last year, the USMEF said in a release.




August beef exports totaled 112,069 tonnes, up 5,251 tonnes, or 4.92%, from 106,818 tonnes in the same month a year ago.  In addition, it was the largest monthly export volume of 2017 so far.

August beef exports were valued at $679.092 million, the second highest on record and up $112.312 million, or 19.8%, from $566.780 million a year ago.  The record-high value of $688.8 million was reached in October of 2014.

For January through August, beef exports increased 75,727 tonnes, or 10.1%, in volume to 823,433 tonnes and $638.950 million, or 15.9% in value to $4.65 billion compared with the first eight months of 2016 when exports of 747,706 tonnes were valued at $4.650 billion.

August beef exports accounted for 12.5% of total US beef production in August and 10.4% for muscle cuts only, the USMEF said.  This compares with 13.7% and 10.3%, respectively, last year.

For January through August, beef exports accounted for 12.8% of total production, down from 13.2% and 10.1%, which was steady with last year, for muscle cuts.

The export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $290.05 in August, up 13% from a year ago, the USMEF said.  Through August, per-head export value was up 9% to $275.91.




Pork exports totaled 183,658 tonnes in August, down 3,031 tonnes, or 1.62% year-over-year from 186,689 tonnes.  This was valued at $511.4 million, down $1.320 million, or 0.26%.

The January-through-August pork export volume, at 1.610 million tonnes remained 133,302, or 9.03% above last year’s record pace of 1.477 million, while export value increased $432.278 million, or 11.4% to $4.210 billion.

Exports accounted for 23.1% of total pork production in August, down from 24.1% a year ago, and 19.2% for muscle cuts only, down from 20%, the USMEF said.  For the first eight months of the year, the percentage of total production exported was 26.9%, up from 25.4% last year.  For pork muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 22.4% up from 21.3%.

Export value per head slaughtered trended lower in August at $47.98, the USMEF said, down 3% from a year ago, but the January-through-August average was still up 8% to $53.28.

“As we head into the final quarter, 2017 is shaping up as a very solid year for red meat exports but one in which the US industry still faces significant challenges,” said USMEF CEO Philip Seng, in the release.  New pork plants and strong on-feed numbers signal the need for more work.




Two lots from Texas sold at the Livestock Exchange video auction last Wednesday at $108.25 and $108.50 per cwt.

Cash cattle traded lightly Tuesday at $110 per cwt, steady with the top of last week.  Cattle last week traded from $107 to $110 per cwt on a live basis, steady to up $3 from the previous week.  Dressed-basis trading last week was at $170 to $172, steady to down $2.

The USDA’s choice cutout Tuesday was down $0.73 per cwt at $197.40, while select was up $1.36 at $190.02.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $7.38 from $9.47 with 86 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Monday was $155.17 per cwt, down $0.18.  This compares with Tuesday’s Oct settlement of $154.07, up $0.30.