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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

The sharp increase in US beef prices continues to take its toll on US beef export volume. The data for September showed total shipments of US fresh/frozen and processed beef and veal were down 12,305 MT or 16% compared to a year ago.

This was the ninth consecutive month that US beef exports have posted a year over year decline. Limited beef supplies and the resulting high beef prices have negatively impacted US beef export volume. Export revenues, on the other hand, remain strong and were only modestly lower compared to last year despite the sharp decline in tonnage. The total value of beef and veal exports in September was pegged at $387.1 MM, down about 2.6% from last year.

Year to date, the value of US beef and veal exports is reported to be $3.575 billion, up 1% from last year. Total beef and veal export volume so far this year is down 13% from a year ago. Beef exports were lower across the board. Mexico remains one of the top markets for US beef but it has shrunk considerably in recent years. A weak Peso, significant food price inflation and a weak economy have forced Mexican buyers to look for alternative meat protein supplies to beef. In September, shipments of US beef to Mexico were down 6,800 MT (-52%) from a year ago.

The decline in exports to Mexico accounted for more than half of all the decline in US beef exports for the month. On the other, hand US pork exports to Mexico in September rose by almost 7,500 MT and chicken was up 10,000 MT. Indeed, it appears that for much of this year Mexican buyers have substituted more pork and chicken for beef. Year to date US beef exports to Mexico are 28,772 MT or 28% lower than year ago. However, exports of US pork to Mexico so far this year are up 47,250 or 17% from last year.

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