U.S. beef exports endured the most difficult month in some time in September, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), contractor to the beef checkoff.

Beef export volume fell 21 percent from a year ago in September to 175.2 million pounds and value was down 28 percent to $456.6 million – the lowest since January. For the first nine months of 2015, exports were down 12 percent in volume (1.73 billion pounds) and 8 percent in value ($4.8 billion).

Few bright spots for September beef exports

Beef export value in September equated to $233.80 per head of fed slaughter – down nearly $80 from a year ago. For January through September, per-head value was $280.46 – down $6.36 from the same period last year. Exports equated to 13 percent of total beef production and 10 percent for muscle cuts only – both down 1 percentage point from the first nine months of last year.

September exports to leading market Japan fell 34 percent in volume (33.9 million pounds) and 36 percent in value ($99.7 million) from a year ago. For the first nine months of the year, exports to Japan were down 12 percent in volume (357 million pounds) and 14 percent in value (just over $1 billion).

Other notable results for beef exports include:

  • September exports to Korea were the lowest since January, but January-September volume was still up 9 percent to 204.1 million pounds, while value was 4 percent higher at $612.9 million.
  • Exports to Taiwan were also below year-ago levels in September but still up 5 percent in volume (59 million pounds) and 12 percent in value ($241.3 million) for the first nine months of the year.
  • January-September exports to Mexico totaled 355.7 million pounds (down 10 percent year-over-year), valued at $808.4 million (down 6 percent).
  • September exports to Hong Kong rebounded somewhat from low summer totals but results for the first nine months of the year were down 26 percent in both volume (173.3 million pounds) and value ($565.1 million) from a year ago.

Complete January-September export totals for U.S. beef are available from USMEF’s statistics webpage.

For more information, please contact Joe Schuele at jschuele@usmef.org or 303-547-0030.