May 11, 2017

Dairy Exports Up Double Digits

 |  By: Mike Opperman

According to the U.S. Dairy Export Council, U.S. dairy exports in the first quarter of 2017 were up 14 percent by volume and 17 percent by value compared with a year ago—the best Q1 result since 2014. Exporters realized gains to nearly all markets and across nearly all product categories, with only butterfat and whole milk powder lagging.

Total dairy exports were valued at $1.32 billion. March export value of $482 million was the most in 22 months, and export volume has topped year-ago levels for 10 straight months.

export graph

After a slower start to the year, exports to Mexico rebounded in February and March. During the quarter, U.S. dairy exports to Mexico were valued at $328 million, up 10 percent from last year. Among other top markets, sales to China (+74 percent), Southeast Asia (+16 percent) and Canada (+8 percent) trended higher.

Cheese, milk powder and whey products now make up more than two-thirds of U.S. dairy exports. By volume, whey exports were up 27 percent in Q1, nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) exports were up 19 percent and cheese shipments were up 12 percent. Volumes of whey and NDM/SMP ran at record levels for Q1.

On a total milk solids basis, U.S. exports were equivalent to 14.0 percent of U.S. milk production in the first quarter. Imports were equivalent to 3.6 percent of production.

Click here to see USDEC’s monthly trade data summary, which has additional analysis of export trade trends.