DENVER – Statistics released by the by the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) and compiled by the US Meat Export Federations (USMEF) show September export volume totals of pork, beef and lamb up 27 percent compared to September of 2015.

Beef exports were 101,224 metric tons (mt.), slightly down from August. Third-quarter volume was 307,383 mt., the largest since the fourth quarter of 2014. Export volume January through September was above last year’s pace of 848,930 mt. September export value increased 17 percent from a year ago to $533.3 million. Export value was down 5 percent for the first three quarters of 2016 compared to 2015 at $4.5 billion.

Beef exports accounted for 13.5 percent of total production in September, up slightly from last year. Export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $256.98, a 10 percent increase and the first year-over year increase of 2016. For the month of September, export value averaged $253 per head, down 10 percent from last year.

September pork volume was slightly down from August, but up 7 percent from a year ago by 7 percent. Export volume for January through September was up 5 percent from last year at 1.66 million mt. September export value was $491 million, up 8 percent from one year ago. January-September export value was $4.27 billion, up 1 percent from the same period last year.

Pork exports accounted for 24 percent of total production while January-September ratios were 25 percent and 21 percent, up slightly from last year, mainly reflecting growth in variety meat exports to China/Hong Kong. Per head slaughtered value was up 3 percent year-over year at $48.29 in September. January-September export value was down slightly, averaging $49.24.

“Red meat exports continued to build positive momentum in September, and it couldn’t come at a better time,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “We have large supplies of pork and beef hitting the market and moving these higher volumes is certainly a challenge. But this is also presenting expanded opportunities in the international markets, as we are able to introduce new cuts and value-added products, and recapture market share from our key competitors.”

Seng added that the upward trend in export volume is encouraging, but also that it’s critical for exports to contribute to carcass value and deliver returns throughout the entire supply chain.