Red meat exports in the first half of 2018 were a cause of celebration for U.S. livestock producers. With both pig and cattle herds amid expansion and inventories at record highs, exports have become even more critical to maintaining positive prices for producers.
Trade headwinds were not expected, however.
Despite the trade turmoil, U.S. exports of beef and pork remain above last year’s pace, Joe Schuele, U.S. Meat Export Federation’s vice president of communications, told Chip Flory on AgriTalk.
“There's a lot of good news there, especially on the beef side,” Schuele said. “Pork exports also had a good half. But as you saw on our report— we didn't sugarcoat it. We gave some warning signs that the second half could be a struggle if we don't get some of the trade disputes worked out.”
“Good news on the lamb side too. Lamb had kind of a tough year on the export side in 2017 and we're seeing a nice rebound there,” he adds.
Beef Values Jump on Access to Japan, Other Growing Markets
On a per head basis, Schuele says U.S. cattlemen can attribute $317 to exports. “That's about double where we were just seven, eight years ago,” he said. “That's that's a pretty amazing stat.”
Total export values for the first half snuck up over $4 billion (up 21%) for the first half of the year. This is the first time to reach that milestone before August. In 2010, beef’s export value for the year was only about $1 billion.
Part of that success came from wider access to Japan’s market. “We don’t have full access to Japan post-BSE, but we’re pretty close.”
Listen to Schuele’s analysis of recent purchases in the Korean and Latin American markets in the audio clip above.