DENVER – US Department of Agriculture statistics compiled by the US Meat Export Federation indicate August was a record month for US pork and beef exports. Pork exports hit their highest monthly volume of 2011 at 186,068 metric tons, and the second-highest value total of all time at $531.2 million. Beef exports set an all-time monthly value record at $514.2 million on a strong volume of 116,405 mt.

US pork and beef exports are nearing new value records in 2011 and to pass the $5 billion mark for the first time.

August pork exports were 27 percent higher than a year ago in terms of volume and 44 percent higher in value (surpassed only by the record $553.6 million, set in March 2011). This performance pushed year-to-date exports to nearly 1.44 million metric tons valued at $3.82 billion – an increase of 16 percent in volume and 23 percent in value over last year’s pace. August exports equated to 27.3 percent of production with a value of $56.27 per head, compared to 22.4 percent and $40.87 in August 2010.

August exports to Japan, the leading value market for US pork, were 28 percent higher than a year ago in volume (40,887 metric tons) and 37 percent higher in value ($168.4 million). August US pork exports to South Korea more than doubled last year’s volume total (10,268 metric tons) and more than tripled the value ($31.2 million).

US pork exports to China set a record in August volume (35,636 metric tons) pushing this year’s volume up 336 percent (188,622 metric tons) to go along with a 237 percent increase in value ($316.8 million). Mexico continues to be the top volume destination for US pork at 344,875 metric tons – down 3 percent from last year’s record pace. August volume of 44,641 metric tons was steady with last year but up 13 percent from July, and the value of August exports to Mexico rose more than 10 percent.

A strong August performance pushed beef exports 26 percent higher for the year in volume (857,680 metric tons) and 39 percent higher in value ($3.58 billion). August exports equated to 14 percent of total US production with a value of $214.11 per head of fed slaughter.

Beef exports to Canada remained very strong at 19,945 metric tons valued at $114.6 million. This was 44 percent higher in volume and 55 percent higher in value than in August 2010. Mexico was the volume pacesetter for US beef at 169,963 metric tons and second in value at $646 million.

US lamb exports have climbed 72 percent ahead of last year’s pace in terms of volume (14,901 metric tons) and 42 percent higher in value ($21.2 million) These were the largest January-August export totals ever achieved by US lamb, and exports are already near the annual volume record of 13,934 metric tons set in 2006. Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean continue to be the major markets.