Despite concerns high U.S. dairy product prices might hamper foreign sales, March exports were estimated at $725 million in March, the highest total in history. It marked the 12th consecutive month export values topped $550 million, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Exports of cheese, whey proteins, lactose and milk protein concentrate all reached new highs, while butterfat exports were the most in more than 20 years. U.S. exports (on a total milk solids basis) were equivalent to 17.7% of U.S. milk solids production in March – the most ever. Imports were equivalent to 3.1% of production. Read also March U.S. exports top $700 million
On a value basis, March 2014 exports were up 23% from February and up about 66% from the March 2013 total of $498 million. The previous high mark was $631 million, in May 2013.
At $287 million, the value of March 2014 imports was also up 23% from February 2014, but down about 2% from March 2013.
The March dairy trade surplus (exports minus imports) was $438 million.
Fiscal year 2014 (October 2013-March 2014) exports total $3.729 billion, up about 43% from the same period in record-setting FY ’13. FY ’14 imports total $1.681 billion, down about 1% from the same period in FY ’13. The FY ’14 dairy trade surplus stands at $2.048 billion.
At $104 million, March 2014 cheese imports were up 29% from February 2014 and up about 14% from March 2013. FY ’14 cheese imports total $620 million, up about 2% from a year earlier.
March U.S. female dairy cattle exports stronger
Global demand of U.S. dairy products is strong, and so is demand for U.S. female replacement dairy cattle. USDA’s Foreign Ag Service said 5,755 female dairy replacements were exported in March, the highest monthly total since November 2013. The January-March total, at 13,511 head, is the third-highest total to start the year in the past five years.
Mexico has been the dominant dairy replacement market so far in 2014, taking 2,411 head in March, for a three-month total of 7,482, or about 55% of all exported female dairy cattle.
Jordan was second in March, at 1,690 head, followed by Russia, at 1,100.
March U.S. alfalfa exports rebound
After a couple of slower months, exports of alfalfa hay rebounded to more “normal” levels in March, according to USDA’s Foreign Ag Service.
March 2014 U.S. alfalfa hay exports totaled 173,435 metric tons (MT), the highest total since December 2013. China was the top foreign hay market for the month, at 74,072 MT; followed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), at 39,901 MT; and Japan, at 34,370 MT.
March 2014 U.S. exports of other hay, at 151,341 MT, also rebounded. Japan was the leading market, at 68,887 MT; followed by South Korea, at 38,951 MT; and China, at 24,496 MT.
U.S. distillers grains exports set new record
U.S. ethanol producers exported more distillers grains and ethanol in March, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.
Exports of distillers grains set a new monthly record of 1.16 million MT, up 28% from February, and topping the 1.0 million MT mark for just the fourth time in history. China was the leading destination for U.S. distillers grains, receiving about 580,494 MT. Mexico and South Korea were also leading markets. Year-to-date distillers grains exports stood at 2.97 million MT, a 65% increase over the same period a year ago.
Ethanol exports totaled 84.0 million gallons in March, up 25% from February. Canada and Brazil were top destinations in March, while the Philippines and Nigeria re-entered the market after sitting on the sidelines in February.