High corn prices continue to be felt by beef and pork producers as export volumes drag.
Beef export volumes did hit a 2012 high in July with 108,971 metric tons sold overseas, up 16 percent from June volumes, but that remained 9.5 percent lower than in July 2011. Year-to-date exports through July remained 11 percent below the record pace of 2011 in volume at 659,433 metric tons, but increased 4 percent in value to $3.17 billion. July’s beef export value of $513.5 million was up just slightly from a year ago, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
In July, 14.3 percent of all beef processed in the U.S. entered the export market.
Pork exports have hit record numbers for both volume and value for several years, and overall 2012 numbers remain in record territory. For the first seven months of the year, exports stayed strong — 4 percent above last year’s record pace in volume at 1.3 million metric tons and 11 percent higher in value at $3.63 billion.
But those numbers are starting to erode. July pork exports totaled 164,720 metric tons, down nearly 3 percent from a year ago and the smallest volume since October 2010. Pork export value was also down less than 3 percent to $467.4 million.
Exports amounted to 26.5 percent of U.S. production in July and 27.5 percent from January through July.
Hog slaughter hit record levels in August as producers thinned herds to avoid feed grain purchases. That is expected to lower prices and increase export volumes, at least temporarily.