Beef and pork exports continued on a record pace through September, according to USDA data and an analysis from the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
Beef exports posted one of the best months on record in September, with value climbing nearly 60% above last year. Pork export volume was slightly below last September, but value still increased 8%.
Beef exports were up 20% from a year ago and the fourth largest volume of the post-BSE era (since December 2003). Export value jumped 59% to $954.1 million — the second highest month on record, trailing only August 2021.
Over the first three quarters of 2021, beef exports increased 18% from a year ago to 1.08 million metric tons, with a value of $7.58 billion — up more than $2 billion (36%) from the same period last year.
According to the USMEF, compared to the record year of 2018, January-September exports were 7% higher in volume and up 24% in value.
If numbers hold, over $2 billion of beef will be sent to Japan, South Korea and China/Hong Kong this year. This includes a strong growth in chilled beef exports to Japan and Korea. Beef exports to most Western Hemisphere markets are also trending significantly higher than a year ago.
Pork exports totaled 219,687 mt in September, down 1% from a year ago, but value was 8% higher at $608.3 million. For January through September, exports were 1% above last year’s record pace at 2.24 million mt, while value climbed 9% to $6.23 billion.
“Facing significant logistical headwinds and higher costs, these outstanding results are really a testament to the loyalty and strong demand from our international customers and to the innovation and determination of the U.S. industry,” USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom said in a news release.
September pork exports to Mexico were the third largest on record at nearly 80,000 mt, pushing January-September exports to Mexico to a record pace. Pork exports to Central America and the Dominican Republic are also reaching new heights, and exports to Colombia have rebounded significantly from a year ago.
Halstrom says that a rebound in pork and beef variety meat exports, which decreased in 2020 due to COVID issues, has been a strong source of momentum in 2021, adding that demonstrates a strong global demand for high-value protein.