U.S. dairy exports reached new high levels in 2014 for both volume and value, despite a slowdown in the second half of the year, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council’s monthly report.

A look at U.S. Dairy Export Council numbers:

• Exporters shipped just under 2 million tons of milk powders, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose last year, 2% more than 2013 volume. Total overseas sales were valued at $7.11 billion, up 6%. However, after a strong first half, U.S. exports in the second half of the year were down 11% by value and 9% by volume vs. prior year.

In 2014, exports to Mexico (+15% by value), South Korea (+39%) and Japan (+34%) were up significantly from the year before, offsetting a decline in sales to the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region (-18%). Shipments to Southeast Asia, China and Canada were near 2013 totals.

• Exports of nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder were 545,956 tons last year, slightly below 2013 levels. Shipments in the last five months of the year trailed 2013 volume by 19%. For the year, sales to Mexico and the Philippines were up 11% and 23%, respectively, but exports to China, Indonesia, Vietnam and MENA were lower. U.S. exports of whole milk powder were up 40% in 2014, to 54,651 tons.

• Cheese exports increased for the fifth straight year to 368,728 tons; this figure is more than triple the volume shipped in 2009. With a year-over- year increase of 17%, the United States extended its lead as the world’s single largest cheese-exporting country. Suppliers posted large gains last year in sales to South Korea (+44%) and Japan (+80%).

Overall whey exports were up fractionally in 2014, but more of the volume came from higher-protein ingredients. WPI shipments were up 31% in 2014 and WPC exports ended the year strong to finish with a 1% gain. Dry whey exports, on the other hand, were down 14% in the second half to finish 3% below 2013 levels.

Butterfat exports were off 21% in 2014. Sales slumped after April; in the last eight months of the year, volumes were down 57% from the year before.

U.S. exports (on a total milk solids basis) were equivalent to 15.4% of U.S. milk solids production in 2014, down slightly from the 15.5% proportion exported in 2013. Imports were equivalent to 3.2% of production last year.

 

U.S. dairy exports as a percent of production

 

Dec.

Dec.

Jan.-Dec.

Jan.-Dec.

Item

2014

2013

2014

2013

NDM/SMP

36%

53%

52%

58%

Total cheese

6.0%

7.0%

7.1%

6.3%

Butterfat

5.0%

13.5%

8.6%

10.7%

Dry sweet whey

48%

47%

58%

54%

Lactose

74%

59%

65%

72%

Total milk solids

13.5%

14.9%

15.4%

15.5%