Products and cattle: September U.S. dairy exports strong

U.S. September dairy exports down, but strong

U.S. dairy export volumes cooled in September vs. prior months, but were still up significantly from a year ago,  according to a monthly summary from the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

Declining month-over-month sales were mostly a reflection of seasonally low output of milk powder, whey products and cheese. For instance, production of nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) in September was just 59,240 tons, down from a peak of more than 93,000 tons in May. Even so, U.S. suppliers exported 77% of their NDM/SMP production during September, and exports were up 36% from last year.

In addition to milk powder, cheese, lactose and whey export volumes tracking at record highs this year, U.S. exports of butterfat and whole milk powder (WMP) have improved in recent months. In the third quarter, butterfat exports were up 283% from a year ago, and the United States exported nearly 16% of its butter production in the July-September period. Meanwhile, WMP exports were up 235% in Q3.

On a volume basis, exporters shipped 157,267 tons of milk powder, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose during September, up 22% from the prior year.

On a value basis, U.S. dairy exports were nearly $593 million in September, up 48%. That brought year-to-date export values to $4.92 billion, 26% ahead of last year’s pace.

Pricing relationships remain favorable for U.S. suppliers and global demand is steady. Oceania and European supply is recovering, creating more competitive pressure, but the United States has continued to gain share of the global market throughout 2013.

On a total-solids basis, exports were equivalent to 16.6% of U.S. milk production in September. Meanwhile, imports as a percent of milk-solids production in September were 2.6%.

NDM/SMP exports have slowed since peaking in April. Shipments in September were 45,618 tons, down 7% from August, with declines in sales to Southeast Asia and China. However, year-to-date volumes are still running 18% ahead of last year’s pace. Southeast Asia and Mexico have accounted for more than two-thirds of 2013 sales.

Cheese exports have topped 25,000 tons for seven straight months. September exports were 25,783 tons, up 40% from a year ago. In the first nine months of the year, shipments to Mexico were up 20% vs. prior year, while South Korea (+16%), Japan (+11%) and Egypt (+135%) also posted double-digit gains.

Butterfat exports have improved each of the last five months, hitting 11,273 tons in September. This is the best month in more than five years. Exports in the first nine months were up 69% vs. a year ago. More than two-thirds of the 2013 volume has gone to the Middle East/North Africa region, primarily Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Total whey export volumes in September were 38,484 tons, down 14% from August and the lowest figure since March. During September, WPC exports were down 18% from the month before, and dry whey volumes were off 11%. China remains the major customer for U.S. whey products, with YTD purchases up 22% vs. 2012.

WMP exports have picked up in recent months. In the third quarter, exports were 15,317 tons, up 235% from a year ago. Lactose and fluid milk exports moved at a record pace in the first three quarters of 2013. Lactose export volume was up 18% vs. a year ago, while fluid milk/cream shipments were up 43%.

January-September exports top $4.9 billion U.S. exports in the first three quarters of 2013 were valued at $4.92 billion, 26% more than last year. Aggregate export volume of dry ingredients (milk powder, whey products and lactose), cheese and butterfat was 1,439,673 tons, 15% more than a year ago, with gains across all product categories. NDM/SMP, cheese, whey products and lactose are running at record highs.


FY 2013 dairy export values top $6 billion

The value of U.S. dairy product exports hit $6.22 billion in fiscal year 2013 (October 2012-September 2013), up  18% from $5.27 billion in FY 2012, and a new record high. September 2013 exports, estimated at $590 million, although down 5% from August, represented the seventh straight month monthly exports topped $500 million.

FY 2013 dairy product imports were estimated at $3.17 billion up about 1% from FY 2013. Cheese imports totaled $1.15 billion, up 8% from FY 2012.

September U.S. dairy cattle exports surge

September2013  U.S. female dairy cattle exports totaled 8,067 head, the third highest monthly total of the year, according to USDA’s Foreign Ag Service.

The 2013 year-to-date total – at 49,592 – has already surpassed the total for all of 2012, and closed the gap on the export pace during record-setting 2011. About 52,630 head were exported during the January-September period in 2011, a year that saw annual exports total 73,639 head.

Russia was the top destination for U.S. replacements during September, at 4,697 head. Turkey was second, at 1,832 head, followed by Mexico, at 1,325 head.


September U.S. alfalfa exports ‘average’

September 2013 U.S. alfalfa hay exports totaled 162,414 metric tons, similar to monthly averages so far in 2013, according to USDA’s Foreign Ag Service. September’s exports bring the 2013 year-to-date total to 1.451 million metric tons.

China was the top market in September, at 55,762 metric tons, followed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), at 50,981 metric tons, and Japan, at 32,707 metric tons.

 Meanwhile, monthly U.S. exports of other hay totaled 166,538 metric tons in September, the highest total in eight months. Japan and South Korea were the top two markets, taking about 73% of the monthly total.