U.S. Pork Exports Roll On

For the 15th year in a row, U.S. pork exports have set a record.

During the first 11 months of 2006, the United States exported 2.72 billion pounds of carcass weight equivalent pork. That's 2% more pork than we exported in calendar year 2005.

"Once December exports, which are not yet available, are added in, 2006 U.S. pork exports are expected to be 12% higher than in 2005, double the total exported in 2000," notes Ron Plain, University of Missouri economist. "At that level 2006 exports would be six times the export total of 1993."

Not only was 2006 a record year, but November was a record month for U.S. pork exports. Pork exports during November totaled 293.6 million pounds, 3% more pork than the previous record month.

"The odds appear good that 2007 will be the 16th consecutive record year for U.S. pork exports," says Plain.

Net exports total about 9% of production. The pork from one U.S. hog in seven is being exported. The U.S. exported 14% of its pork production during the first 11 months of last year.

During the same period, imports equaled a little less than 5% of U.S. pork production. January-November pork imports were down 2% compared to the same period of 2005. Through November, the United States exported three times as much pork as we imported.

Four key customers. The big growth markets for U.S. pork exports in 2006 were Russia, South Korea and Mexico. These three countries account for over 90% of the increase in U.S. pork exports during January-November.

Japan, the biggest foreign buyer of U.S. pork, bought less during these months than in 2005. In 2005, 39% of U.S. pork exports went to Japan. Through November, only 34% of 2006 U.S. pork exports have been to Japan.

Import mix from Canada shifts. The number of live hogs imported from Canada during the first 11 months of 2006 was up 8% compared to January-November 2005 with 12% more feeder pigs being imported but 1% fewer hogs brought south. Live hog imports should easily eclipse the 2004 record of 8.5 million head imported.

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