US Pork Exports Set Record High

US pork exports set a new volume record, fueled by “tremendous” demand from Mexico, the US Meat Export Federation said.  Beef exports posted the best-ever results for the month of April.

April US pork, beef and lamb exports were sharply higher than a year ago in volume and value according to data from the USDA’s Economic Research Service and the Foreign Agriculture Service and compiled by the USMEF




April pork export volume was 230,049 tonnes, up 26,958, or 13.3% from 203,091 tonnes a year ago and topping the previous high set in November of 2016, the USMEF said.  April’s pork export value was $584.1 million, up $66,602, or 12.9%, from $517.5 million a year earlier.

For January through April, pork export volume was 35,608 tonnes, or 4.29% ahead of last year’s record pace of 830,738 tonnes at 866,346 tonnes, while the value increased $187,8 million, or 8.95%, to $2.29 billion from $2.10 billion.

For pork muscle cuts, excluding variety meat, April also was a record volume month at 184,487 tonnes, up 28,699, or 18.4%, from 155,788 tonnes a year ago.  Muscle cut export value was $480.6 million, up $59.319 million, or 14.1%, from $421.2 million a year earlier.

Exports accounted for nearly 30% of total pork production in April, up from 28.4% a year ago, the USMEF said, while the percentage of muscle cuts exported also increased significantly to 25.8% from 23.5%.  Through April, the percentage of total production exported was fairly steady with last year at 27.4%, while muscle cuts jumped from 22.8% to 23.5%.

April’s pork export value averaged $58.45 per head slaughtered, up 6% from a year ago, the USMEF said, while the January-April average increased 5% to $55.69.




Beef export volume was 111,213 tonnes in April, up 11,427, or 11.5%, from 99,786 a year earlier, the USMEF said.  April’s beef export value was $676.7 million, up $126.3 million, or 22.9%, from $550.4 million a year earlier and the fourth highest on record.

Through the first four months of 2018, beef exports were up 37,825 tonnes, or 9.65%, in volume to 429,286 tonnes from 392,001, with export value at $2.59 billion, $431.4 million, or 19.9%, above last year’s record pace of $2.16 billion.

Beef exports accounted for 14.1% of total beef production in April, up from 13.6% a year ago, the USMEF said.  For muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 11.3%, up from 10.6% a year earlier.

For January-April, beef exports accounted for 13.4% of total production and 10.8% for muscle cuts, each up about half a percentage point from last year.

April beef export value averaged $328.46 per head of fed slaughter, up 16% from 2017.




No fed cattle sold Wednesday on the Livestock Exchange Video Auction, versus sales the previous week at $110 per cwt.

Cash cattle traded last week at $114 to mostly $115 per cwt on a live basis, up $3.50 to $4 from the previous week.  On a dressed basis, cattle traded at $184 per cwt, up $6 to $7.

The USDA choice cutout Monday was down $1.08 per cwt at $225.13, while select was off $0.38 at $202.80.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $22.33 from $23.03 with 73 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Friday, was $140.61 per cwt, up $0.12.  This compares with Monday’s Aug settlement of $145.95, down $1.32.