Both U.S. beef and pork exports grew in February, with strong expansion in muscle cuts leading the way in both, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
The monthly value of total U.S. beef exports (muscle cuts and variety meat) jumped 14.5 percent compared to one year ago to reach $252.5 million, while tonnage climbed 8.6 percent to 71,843 metric tons (158.4 million pounds).
Pork exports in February accounted for 25 percent of total U.S. pork production, equating to nearly $44 per head, up from $37.37 per head just last month. On the beef side, exports remained steady at 10 percent of production but the value edged up to $123 per head of steer and heifer slaughter from $119 in January.
Mexico emerged as a solid No. 1 destination for U.S. pork in 2009, and that growth continues in 2010 with a 9 percent hike in volume to 99,768 metric tons (219.9 million pounds) in January and February valued at $173 million – a 24 percent jump.
“Pork exports to Mexico helped contribute to the high ham values and high pork cutout values in the first two months of the year,” noted Daley. “In January-February, the pork cutout averaged more than $70/cwt, which was about 24 percent higher than last year.”
Domestic pork production in Japan continues to rise, affecting imports. According to data by Japan’s Agriculture and Livestock Industries Corporation (ALIC), domestic pork production has increased year-on-year each month since March 2009. Marketing of domestic pork in Japan’s current fiscal year (data available for April 2009 through January 2010) is up 7 percent while marketing of imported pork is down nearly 14 percent.