WASHINGTON – For 2011, US beef exports are forecast at 2.59 billion lbs. If this forecast holds true, the US will export quantities of beef surpassing 2003 pre-bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) levels and have a wider net export margin, according to the June 15 Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook from the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.

In 2003, US beef exports were 2.52 billion lbs. Although the country has not completely recovered the export share held in the Japanese and South Korean markets pre-BSE, other Asian export markets for US beef, including Taiwan, Vietnam, and Hong Kong, have emerged to conjointly hold an increased share of the US beef export market. Beginning in 2010, other countries such as Egypt and Russia have also been more prominent markets for US beef.

In 2010, the US had regained 38 percent and 47 percent of the beef quantities shipped to Japan and South Korea, respectively, in 2003, and export growth is still expected to continue in the Japanese and South Korean markets into 2012. In value terms, US beef exports had already surpassed 2003 levels in 2010.

US exports as a percent of production are expected to surpass levels set in previous years. In 2011, US domestic production is forecast at nearly 26.3 billion lbs. Even at higher year-over-year production levels in 2011, US beef exports are expected to be about 9.9 percent of production this year.

For 2012, US beef exports are forecast at 2.52 billion lbs. The export percentage of production is expected to grow next year to 10.1 percent as domestic production also decreases to 25 billion lbs., or the lowest level since 2005. The last year exports as a percent of production were near the levels forecast for 2011 and 2012 was 2003, when 9.6 percent of US-produced beef was exported.