September Red Meat Exports Solid

September was another solid month for US red meat exports, with beef, pork and lamb totals well above a year ago, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation.

“Red meat exports continued to build positive momentum in September, and it couldn’t come at a better time,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president, in a release.  “We have large supplies of pork and beef hitting the market and moving these higher volumes is certainly a challenge.  But this is also presenting expanded opportunities in the international markets, as we are able to introduce new cuts and value-added products, and recapture market share from our key competitors.”

Seng also said that while the upward trend in export volume is encouraging, it is also critical that exports contribute to carcass value and deliver returns for the entire supply chain.  Per-unit values for pork exports have trended higher since June, and chilled beef exports to Asia are performing exceptionally well this year.




September beef export volume was 101,224 tonnes, down 5,594 tonnes, or 5.24%, from August’s 106,818 tonnes, but 21,750 tonnes, or 27.4%, above last September’s 79,474 tonnes.

Third-quarter volume was 307,383 tonnes, the largest since the fourth quarter of 2014, the USMEF said.

For January through September, beef export volume was 848,930 tonnes, 66,225, or 8.5% above last year’s pace of 782,705 tonnes.

September beef export value was up $76.731 million, or 16.8% from $456.607 million a year ago to $533.3 million.  For the first three quarters of 2016, export value was $4.54 billion, down $222,636 million, or 4.67% from $4.768 billion a year ago.

Beef exports accounted for 13.5% of total beef production in September and 10% for muscle cuts only, the USMEF said.  January-September ratios also were 13.5% and 10%, up slightly from a year ago.

Export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $256.98 in September, the first year-over-year increase (up 10%) of 2016.  Through September, export value averaged $253 a head, down 10% from last year.




September pork export volume was 183,936 tonnes, down 2,753 tonnes, or 1.47%, from August but up 6.93% from a year ago, the USMEF said.

For January through September, pork export volume was 1.661 million tonnes, up 76,093, or 4.80%, above last year’s pace of 1.585 million.

September’s pork export value was $490.969 million up $34.825 million, or 7.63% from $456.144 million a year ago, while January-September export value was $4.269 billion, 63.039 billion, or 1.50% more than $4.206 billion the same period last year.

Pork exports accounted for 24% of total production in September and 20% for muscle cuts only, the USMEF said.  January-September ratios were 25% and 21%, up slightly from last year, mainly reflecting growth in variety meat exports to China/Hong Kong.

Pork export value per head slaughtered averaged $48.29 in September, up 3% year-over-year.  January-September export value was down slightly, averaging $49.24.




Cash cattle markets Friday were steady to weak at mostly $105 per cwt on a live basis and a thin $158 dressed.  Cattle in the Superior Auction ranged from $103 to $104.25 live.  Cattle sold the previous week at mostly $105 live and $162 to $164 dressed.

The USDA’s choice cutout Friday was $0.97 per cwt lower at $184.62, while select was off $0.96 at $167.71.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $16.91 from $16.92 with 69 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Thursday was $125.64 per cwt, down $0.35.  This compares with Friday’s Nov settlement at $125.72, up $0.52.