DENVER – Beef exports remain on record pace for 2021 during September according to data compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) from the US Department of Agriculture.

Dan Halstrom, president and chief executive officer of USMEF, stated that variety meat exports from both beef and pork helped numbers rebound even during COVID-related production obstacles and have been strong sources of momentum in 2021.

“The increase in the variety meat capture rate, and the resulting increase in exports, is especially encouraging because the labor and transportation challenges certainly have not gone away,” Halstrom said. “But these items are commanding a strong premium overseas, making it more feasible to get them into international commerce. Variety meat exports are a great complement to our strong domestic and international demand for muscle cuts, helping maximize carcass value.” 

Total beef exports for the month of September were 123,628 tonnes with export volume up 20% from a year ago and second largest of 2021. The export value of beef increased 59% from 2020 to $954.1 million. 

The first nine months of beef exports reached 1.08 million tonnes, an 18% spike from last year, valued at $7.58 billion, which is up 36% and $2 billion above 2020. Compared to 2018, a record year for US beef exports, through September results were up 7% in volume and 24% in value.

Pork export shipments went down slightly, dropping 1% from a year ago to 219,687 tonnes as export value reached $608.3 million, up 8%. The first nine-month pork exports topped last year’s pace by 1% at just over 2.2 million tonnes, valued at $6.23 billion (up 9%).

“Facing significant logistical headwinds and higher costs, these outstanding results are really a testament to the loyalty and strong demand from our international customers and to the innovation and determination of the US industry,” Halstrom said.

Beef exports to China continue to rise dramatically in 2021. Through September exports topped 138,041 tonnes a 672% increase from 2020. Export value is also at $1.12 billion which is up 761%. Combined exports to China and Hong Kong were up 131% through September at 176,694 mt, valued at $1.49 billion – already shattering the previous value record of $1.15 billion set in 2014.

For September, Mexican pork exports showed record numbers at 79,678 up from 45% in 2020. USMEF said that was the third highest volume on record. It was valued at $141.6 million which is up 59%.

Pork exports to Japan in September was at 29,102 tonnes slightly down by 5%. Value still increased slightly to $128.4 million.  

Just like many months in 2021 pork exports to Central America continued to grow with September exports totaling 11,110 tonnes. Value in that market increased 93% to $30.9 million.

Lamb exports showed January-September exports 5% above 2020 pace at 9,945 tonnes, which put value up 11% to $14 million.