Importance of Beef Exports

Dr. Curt Lacy (UGA)

Exports contribute significantly to the value of slaughter cattle and feeder cattle. In fact, some industry analysts suggest they add around $150 per head to the value of cattle by providing additional markets for cuts and variety meats that are less valuable in the US.

In recent years, beef cattle exports have represented 10-11 percent of US beef production. The top 3 markets for US beef exports are Canada, Mexico, and Japan.

Exports are measured in two ways: volume or tonnage, and value (Figure 1). In 2011, the US set a record for tonnage by exporting 2.8 billion pounds or 1.9 million metric of beef on a carcass weight basis.

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Figure 1. Importance of Beef Exportsn 2012, even though export volume was down slightly, we set a value record by having exporting sales in excess of 5.5 billion dollars.

These trends are expected to continue into 2013 as export volume is projected to increase with sales prices remaining steady.

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