The value of U.S. dairy exports rose 48 percent over the same month last year to $582.9 million in September, USDA trade data show. Through the first three quarters of 2013, U.S. export value grew 26 percent to $4.92 billion. Most products registered sizable volume gains over September 2012, although volume and value were the lowest since March, and September export volume declined about 7 percent from August 2013, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).

Compared to the previous September, SMP volume increased 36 percent to 45,618 tons, cheese rose 40 percent to 25,783 tons and butterfat exports grew nearly seven-fold to 11,273 tons, the largest monthly volume in five years, USDEC officials say. Whey continued a trend begun in June in which sweet whey and WPI posted gains (+31 percent and +68 percent, respectively) and WPC volumes declined (-21 percent). Total U.S. whey exports fell 1 percent to 38,484 tons in September.

Eric Meyer, president, HighGround Dairy, a division of HighGround Trading Group Inc., says tight stocks, strong international demand and competitive pricing brought more global buyers to America’s shores to fill orders in the third quarter.

“Based on industry chatter and price movement throughout the quarter, September exports came in largely within expectations,” Meyer says. “With the exception of butter, all other commodities registered declines to August totals which is typical as Southern Hemisphere’s major milking regions (Oceania & South America) ramps up and takes back share of the overall global dairy trade. We anticipate monthly declines to continue through the remainder of the year as U.S. dairy commodity prices have risen to levels that will likely limit incremental growth from the seasonal Q3 peak. However, it is expected that most export totals will continue to run above previous year totals for the foreseeable future until global demand subsides.”