August was another outstanding month for U.S. pork and beef exports, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
Pork exports reached their highest monthly volume of the year at 186,068 metric tons, and the second-highest value total of all time at $531.2 million. Beef exports set an all-time monthly value record at $514.2 million on a strong volume of 116,405 mt. Both pork and beef exports are on pace to set new value records in 2011 and to eclipse the $5 billion mark for the first time ever.
August pork exports were 27% higher than a year ago in terms of volume and 44% higher in value (surpassed only by the record $553.6 million, set in March 2011). This performance pushed year-to-date exports to nearly 1.44 million metric tons valued at $3.82 billion - an increase of 16% in volume and 23% in value over last year's pace. August exports equated to 27.3% of production with a value of $56.27 per head, compared to 22.4% and $40.87 in August 2010. For the year, pork exports equated to 27.3% of production with a per head value of $53.98.
August exports to Japan, the leading value market for U.S. pork, were 28% higher than a year ago in volume (40,887 metric tons) and 37% higher in value ($168.4 million). For the year, exports to Japan were 13% ahead of last year's record pace in terms of volume (328,353 metric tons) and 16% higher in value ($1.27 billion).
South Korea continues to be a bright spot for U.S. pork as August exports more than doubled last year's volume total (10,268 metric tons) and more than tripled the value ($31.2 million). For the year, exports to Korea were 142% higher in volume (146,627 metric tons) and 192% higher in value ($374.5 million). These totals have already set new full-year records for Korea, topping the previous highs set in 2008 of 133,532 metric tons valued at $284 million.
Exports to China also continued to surge, with a record August volume (35,636 metric tons) pushing this year's volume up 336% (188,622 metric tons) to go along with a 237% increase in value ($316.8 million).
Beef exports show strong growth
Despite slipping slightly from July in terms of volume, a strong August performance pushed beef exports 26% higher for the year in volume (857,680 metric tons) and 39% higher in value ($3.58 billion). August exports equated to 14% of total U.S. production with a value of $214.11 per head of fed slaughter. (This compared to just under 12% and $159.59 per head last year.) For the year, beef exports equated to 14.2% of production with a value of $200.75 per head.
Though down from the record pace established in July, beef exports to Canada remained very strong at 19,945 metric tons valued at $114.6 million. This was 44% higher in volume and 55% higher in value than in August 2010. For the first eight months of the year, Canada has been the leading value destination for U.S. beef at $709.7 million (up 54% from last year and already a new full-year record) and second only to Mexico in volume at 130,657 metric tons (up 33%).
Mexico was the volume pacesetter for U.S. beef at 169,963 metric tons and second in value at $646 million. These totals were up 6% and 24% over last year's pace, respectively. August export value of $93.4 million was easily Mexico's highest monthly total of the year.