U.S. Dairy Exports in Demand
October 5, 2021
U.S. dairy exports exceeded 510 million pounds in August, an increase of 13% from August 2020. Year-to-date exports through August topped 2020 by almost 12%. Of the United States’ major dairy export categories, nonfat dry milk (NDM), cheese, and butter all experienced year-over-year gains, and year-to-date volumes of these products also tracked ahead of the same period in 2020.
NDM exports totaled 174 million pounds in August, an increase of more than 15% from August 2020, and year-to-date exports were at a record high. Mexico, the top destination for U.S. NDM exports, brought nearly 73 million pounds of U.S. product across its border, representing a 40% jump relative to August 2020. As Mexico’s economy continued to recover, year-to-date NDM exports were up over 25%.
Year-to-date cheese exports were at a record high. Cheese exports rose 18% in August, compared to last year, and tipped the scale at close to 81 million pounds. Mexico, also a top destination for U.S. cheese, purchased over 21 million pounds, and its year-to-date exports were up 2% against 2020. However, cheese exports to South Korea, another major buyer, were down about 10%, compared to August 2020, and were also down year to date through August.
Once again, year-over-year U.S. butter exports grew to a total of 7 million pounds, a leap of 3 million pounds compared to the same month in 2020. That said, the United States was a net importer of butter in August, with 11.3 million pounds purchased. Whey exports neared 112 million pounds, and the U.S. exported 52 million pounds of whey to China. U.S. exports of dried whey fell by more than 17% from August 2020, checking in at nearly 39 million pounds. However, year to date through August, the category led the same period in 2020 by 13.5%.
Recovering economies across the globe and competitive prices relative to other major dairy exporters have bolstered demand for U.S. products. With milk production growth beginning to slow, strong export demand will likely help balance the market and strengthen dairy product prices.