STILLWATER, Okla. – Mexican beef imports to the US declined 4 percent year-over-year, the first decrease after 48 months of double-digit year-over-year increases, according to an Oklahoma State Univ. extension specialist.

Derrell Peel, an extension livestock marketing specialist at OSU, said tightening cattle supplies in Mexico seem to be driving the trend. In Mexico, as in the United States, there has been significant liquidation of heifers. Also, Mexican cattle exports to the United States increased in 2011 and 2012 as severe drought and a strong US market for cattle prompted significant herd liquidation in Mexico, Peel reported.

But so far in 2013, total imports of Mexican cattle fell 43 percent compared to 2012, according to weekly data through the end of June. Exports of Mexican heifers to the US dropped more than 57 percent year-over-year for the year to date, according to Peel.

On the domestic front, beef prices in Mexico have climbed significantly higher during the past 20 months to be comparable to US prices, Peel said.