Strong June results capped a huge first half of 2018 for U.S. beef exports, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
Beef muscle cut exports set a new volume record in June of 90,745 metric tons (mt), up 15 percent from a year ago. When adding variety meat, total beef export volume was 115,718 mt, up 6%, valued at $718.4 million – up 19% year-over-year and only slightly below the record total ($722.1 million) reached in May. First-half exports set a record pace in both volume and value as international customers bought a larger share of U.S. beef production at higher prices, indicating strong demand. Export volume was up 9% from a year ago to 662,875 mt while export value was just over $4 billion, up 21%. In previous years, export value never topped the $4 billion mark before August.
“It’s remarkable to think that as recently as 2010, beef exports for the entire year totaled $4 billion, and now that milestone has been reached in just six months,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “This should be a source of great pride for the beef industry, which has remained committed to expanding exports even when facing numerous obstacles. And with global demand hitting on all cylinders, there is plenty of room for further growth.”
June exports accounted for 13.4% of total beef production, up from 12.8% a year ago. For muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 11.3%, up from just under 10% last year. First-half exports accounted for 13.5% of total beef production and 11% for muscle cuts – up from 12.8% and 10%, respectively, last year. Beef export value averaged $313.56 per head of fed slaughter in June, up 19% from a year ago. The first-half average was $316.94 per head, up 18%.