DENVER – Both beef and pork cutouts have been on the rise recently and products that have typically been exported have been leading the charge, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (U.S.M.E.F.).

“Looking specifically at the Choice beef cutout, that’s up about 19 cents over last year for about a 13% increase,” says Erin Daley, U.S.M.EF economist. “And if you look more specifically, the chuck and round primals are up 21% and 22% over a year ago. So, much of that increase in cutout value is coming from the end meats and these are typically exported --especially those chuck items we send to Asia and round cuts, which mainly go to Mexico.

“But this year, we’re seeing Russia come back into the market so that’s encouraging,” she added. “And we continue to see large exports to Korea and we’ve seen short-rib values skyrocket to more than $3.30 per lb. That one cut alone is currently adding about $15 per head on a live basis to each steer and heifer slaughtered.

“We have seen strong demand in the greater-China region, including Vietnam as well as Japan and Taiwan, as the competition between those countries and Korea is supporting short-rib values and chuck values, in general,” she continued.

Ms. Daley said there is also good news on the pork side. “We’ve seen a lot of strength coming from those export items, particularly hams,” she said. “Prices are essentially double what they were one year ago. So, the ham cutout is nearly 80 cents a lb. Picnics are about 68 cents a lb. on the primal level -- and that’s up 78% from last year. For hams, Mexico is by far the largest market and we’ve seen exports through February up 22% into Mexico. And that’s on record growth last year. Japan remains our largest value market. Loins are a big item for that market. Loin values are up almost 40% over last year.”