Feedlot cattle

Red meat exports remained strong in the third quarter despite trade issues.

That surge was led by the beef market, according to an analysis from the Livestock Marketing Information Center. Beef and veal exports rose 11 percent over the third quarter, compared to a year ago.

That is the third consecutive quarter for a double-digit increase and the eighth in the last 10 quarters, according to the LMIC.

Pork exports were up 5 percent for the quarter, down slightly from numbers over the first two quarters. Lamb exports were up 6 percent.

Poultry exports continue to struggle, according to the center, although broiler exports over the third quarter were up 8 percent from a year ago. Other chicken exports were down 27 percent, while turkey exports were down 16 percent following a 1 percent drop in the second quarter and a 15 percent increase over the first quarter.

Beef imports were down slightly in the third quarter, while pork imports were down 13 percent.

“Both beef and pork imports were up year-over-year in the first quarters of 2018 (up 3 percent and 6 percent respectively),” the LMIC says in its analysis. “Lamb imports increased 2 percent in the latest quarter. Broiler imports surged 28 percent, while turkey gained a modest 3 percent from last year.”

The center says red meat export increases should continue.

“Strength in red meat exports has been a bright spot this year, especially for beef,” the organization said. “Next year is expected to bring further gains in production of beef and pork, but it seems unlikely beef exports will be able to maintain double-digit growth into 2019.

“The significant headwinds are a strengthening U.S. dollar, softer economic growth in Asian countries and tariff levels. LMIC forecasts 2019 beef exports to be up about 2 percent on the year, and pork exports to rise near 3 percent.”

Dairy cow prices continue to tumble, with prices averaging $1,230 per cow over the third quarter, down 7 percent or $90 from a year ago. According to the LMIC, the year-over-year decline was $380 per cow, a decrease of 24 percent.

Jeff DeYoung is livestock editor for Iowa Farmer Today, Missouri Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.