WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2014 – U.S. beef and pork exports each topped $5 billion in value for the first nine months of 2014, after a strong showing in September, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

September beef exports totaled 100,068 metric tons (mt), up 6 percent in volume from a year earlier, and surged 25 percent in value to $631.9 million, USMEF said in a news release, citing USDA statistics. In the year through September, exports were up 3 percent in volume and 15 percent in value ($5.18 billion).

The value of pork exports in September jumped 7 percent from a year earlier to $513 million, despite a 3 percent drop in volume. Exports through the first nine months of the year maintained a record pace in both volume (1.64 million mt) and value ($5.05 billion), increases of 5 percent and 14 percent, respectively, from the same period in 2013.

“These are impressive results, especially given the headwinds we faced in September – including a very strong U.S. dollar, a significant decline in beef production and our first full month of dealing with Russia’s retaliatory import ban,” USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng said in a news release. “It was just three years ago that U.S. pork and beef exports eclipsed the $5 billion mark for the first time in an entire calendar year, so it’s very gratifying to see our industry reach these mileposts by the end of the third quarter.”

Here are some other highlights from the beef and pork export statistics for September and for the first three quarters of 2014:

--Fed slaughter numbers are trending lower, as herd rebuilding gains traction in the beef industry. September export value reached $313.67 per head of fed slaughter – down from the record set in August, but 26 percent higher than a year earlier. For January through September, per-head export value was $283.29 – up nearly $40 from the same period in 2013. Exports equated to 14 percent of total beef production, up from 13 percent last year.

--Japan was the leading customer for beef exports in September, with volume climbing 36 percent from 2013 to 23,195 mt and value up 55 percent to $155.7 million. For January through September, exports to Japan were steady in volume (184,293 mt) and 7 percent higher in value ($1.17 billion).

--Pork export value per head slaughtered was $58.10 in September (up 10 percent from 2013) and $64.48 for January through September (up 20 percent). Exports accounted for 27 percent of total pork production, up from 26 percent during the first nine months of 2013.

--Mexico, which is the leading volume destination for U.S. pork, continued to perform very well in September – with exports totaling 58,929 mt (up 17 percent) valued at $138.4 million (up 35 percent). For the first nine months of the year, exports to Mexico maintained a record pace of 503,614 mt (up 13 percent) valued at $1.16 billion (up 36 percent).

U.S. lamb exports achieved a year-over-year increase for the third consecutive month in September, up 10 percent in volume (844 mt) and 14 percent in value ($2.16 million). For January through September, exports were still 17 percent lower in volume (8,054 mt) and down 2 percent in value ($21.1 million).

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

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