U.S. Dairy Exports Set a New Record in March

Marc A.H. Beck, US Dairy Export Council

On a total milk solids basis, exports were equivalent to 17.3 percent of U.S. milk production.  

U.S. dairy exports set a new record high in March on a total volume basis surpassing the previous record high set in March 2014. Exports of whey protein concentrate and lactose each hit all-time highs.

Suppliers shipped 204,453 tons of milk powder, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose during the month, up 26 percent from March 2017. U.S. exports were valued at $510 million, 8 percent greater than in March 2017 and the highest total value since April 2015.

Ingredient sales drove much of the gains. Shipments of nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) to Southeast Asia were nearly double the prior-year level and sales to Mexico were the second-most ever. Shipments of lactose to China increased by 57 percent during the month and were at a record high.

Overall NDM/SMP exports were 67,154 tons, up 38 percent from last year. Sales to Mexico increased 43 percent from the previous year. (Official U.S. Bureau of Census data continues to show an increase in WMP exports to Mexico. However, Mexican import data and trade sources don’t corroborate this, and we believe this volume represents SMP sales that were misclassified at the port. Therefore, we’ve adjusted NDM/SMP and WMP trade data for June 2016 to March 2018 to account for this misclassification.)


For more detailed trade data accompanied by tables and charts, download USDEC’s three-page (PDF) document.


And for comments from USDEC’s Jaime Castaneda on Mexico trade and NAFTA, click here.