Chinese child drinking milk.
March 8, 2018

January Dairy Exports Up 9% in Volume

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

January was a very good month for exports, if volume and tonnage are your gauge. “Suppliers shipped 160,746 tons of milk powder, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose during the month, up 9% from last January,” reports Alan Levitt, vice president of communications and market analysis for the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).

That’s the good news. The value of those exports was $145 million, up just 1% from a year, due to depressed dairy prices around the world. On a total milk solids basis, U.S. exported 13.9% of its January milk production. Imports were equivalent to 3.1% of total production.

Here’s a rundown of exports by commodity:

• Cheese: Total sales were 26,946 tons, up 19% from a year ago. “One third of U.S. shipments went to Mexico, where exports were up 62% for the month,” says Levitt.

• Whey: Total whey exports were 48,656 tons, up 18%. Whey sales to Japan more than doubled, sales to Southeast Asia were up by a third, and sales to China were up 8%.

• Nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder: Exports of these products totaled nearly 50,000 tons, up 3%. More than 40% of the dry milk sales went to Mexico, up 4% from last year.

• Lactose: Sales were 30,739 tons, up 7%. China was the number-one market for U.S. lactose for the third month in a row.

• Butterfat: Exports were just 1,741 tons, down 6%. Nevertheless, nearly half of these sales went to Canada, which still is a butter buyer despite its increase in milk quota to fill its butter needs.

• Fluid milk and cream: Sales were down 7%, with Canada decreasing its purchases by nearly two-thirds.

To view USDEC’s Dairy Data Dashboard for a summary of export activity, click here.