Dairy trade update: Products strong; cattle lower; alfalfa steadyPrint
Dairy export value
Building on March’s record monthly high, the value of April 2012 U.S. dairy exports topped $400 for the 14th consecutive month, pushing the year-to-date fiscal year total to more than $3 billion. At $464 million, April exports were down 4% from March 2012, but up 15% from April 2011’s $403 million.
At $227 million, April 2012 imports were down 12% from March 2012 and down about 6% from April 2011’s $242 million.
Year-to-date fiscal year (FY) 2012 (October 2011-April 2012) exports were estimated at $3.090 billion, up 23% from the same period a year earlier. FY ’12 imports were estimated at $1.816 billion, up 7%. The FY ’12 dairy trade surplus stands at $1.274 billion.
April 2012 cheese imports, at $74 million, were down 12% from March 2012 and down 17% from April 2011. FY ’12 cheese imports stand at $635 million, down 2% from the same period a year ago.
FY ’12 U.S. dairy trade
Exports Imports Difference
Month $ million $ million $ million
April 464 227 +237
Mar. ’12 484 258 +226
Feb. ’12 437 245 +192
Jan. ’12 426 255 +171
Dec. ’11 430 273 +157
Nov. ’11 438 309 +129
Oct. ’11 411 249 +162
YTD total 3,090 1,816 +1,274
Source: USDA Economic Research Service
Dairy export volume
U.S. dairy export volumes were steady in April, boosted by continued strong sales of cheese and high-value whey proteins, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Based on trade data released June 8, by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, February-April U.S. exports of dry ingredients (milk powder, whey, lactose), cheese and butterfat were 414,559 tons, up 5% from the previous year.
• Nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder exports remained steady in April, increasing 3% from March volume (on a daily average basis). In the February-April period, sales to Mexico were up 44% from the prior year, and exports to the Middle East/North Africa improved as well, but shipments to Southeast Asia were off 25%.
• Whey exports were strong in April, with total volume up 6% from March (daily-average basis). Record volumes of WPC drove the gains. China remains the major customer for U.S. whey products, with February-April purchases up 14% vs. the prior year. In addition, exports to Mexico were up 38%.
• U.S. cheese exports were just shy of another record high in April. Volumes were off 4% from March (daily-average basis). In the February-April period, shipments to Mexico were up 19% vs. prior year, while Japan (+23%), Saudi Arabia (+49%) and South Korea (+13%) also posted strong gains.
• Butterfat export volumes continued to improve in April, reaching an 11-month high. In the February-April period, almost three-quarters of the volume went to the Middle East/North Africa region.
April dairy solids trade
April dairy exports were equivalent to 13.6% of U.S. milk solids production, the 25th straight month in which exports have been between 12%-15% of output. Exports were equivalent to 13.3% of U.S. milk solids production in 2011 and 12.8% in 2010. Meanwhile, imports as a percent of milk solids production were just 2.7% in April 2012.
Source: U.S. Dairy Export Council, National Milk Producers Federation.
April dairy cattle exports fall sharply
April 2012 U.S. female dairy cattle exports dipped to 1,215 head, the lowest monthly total since June 2009, when U.S. female dairy cattle exports began to surge, according to USDA’s Foreign Ag Service.
April exports brought the year-to-date (Y-T-D) total to 15,169 head, compared to 22,774 head for the same period in record-setting 2011. Last April, more than 5,000 head were exported, including more than 2,100 head to Turkey alone.
Mexico imported 665 U.S. dairy replacement females in April 2012, bringing its Y-T-D total to 1,327 head. Last year’s female dairy cattle export market leader, Turkey imported 464 head in April, for a four-month total of 3,406. Despite no imports of U.S. dairy females in April, Russia remains the 2012 leader, at 8,196 head.
Alfalfa exports steady; other hay jumps
U.S. alfalfa hay exports were steady, but exports of other hay increased in April, according to USDA’s Foreign Ag Service.
April 2012 exports of alfalfa hay totaled 135,239 metric tons, bringing the 2012 four-month total to 584,176 metric tons. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) imported 43,501 metric tons of U.S. alfalfa hay in April, topping the list of foreign buyers for the month, and bringing its three-month total to 170,535 metric tons.
Japan, the leading U.S. alfalfa hay market, imported 38,303 metric tons in April, for a four-month total of 174,595 metric tons, about 30% of the U.S. Y-T-D total. China, South Korea and Oman rounded out the top five markets in April.
U.S. exports of other hay in April totaled 168,858 metric tons, the most since October 2011, for a four-month total to 623,638 metric tons. Japan imported 385,476 metric tons of other hay from the U.S. during the first four months of 2012, or nearly 62% of the total. South Korea, China, Taiwan and UAE rounded out the top five markets for other hay in April.