Mexican Cattle Imports Decrease in 2021


Oklahoma Farm Report

07 Sep 2021


Weekly, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist Derrell Peel offers his expertise in the cattle industry. This is a part of the weekly series known as the "Cow-Calf Corner" published electronically by Paul Beck. Today, Peel talks about cattle imports.


“The latest monthly trade data shows that July imports of Mexican cattle were down 37.5% year over year. Mexican cattle imports for the first seven months of the year were down 18.7% compared to 2020. Preliminary weekly data from USDA-AMS through the end of August shows that year-to-date cattle imports are down 21.0% year over year.


“Mexican cattle imports are on pace for an annual total of 1.15 - 1.20 million head this year. Over the last 30 years, annual imports have averaged 1.1 million head although the average in the last decade has been a bit higher at 1.23 million head. In 2020, Mexican cattle imports totaled 1.44 million head, the highest total since 2012. Total imports last year were up 9.2% from 2019.


“Mexican cattle enter the U.S. through one of eleven ports along the border including six in Texas (Columbia Bridge, Eagle Pass, Del Rio, Hidalgo, Laredo and Presidio); two in New Mexico (Santa Teresa and Columbus); and three in Arizona (San Luis, Nogales, and Douglas). In 2020, the Arizona ports accounted for 26.6% of total cattle imports (all at Nogales and Douglas; no cattle have crossed at San Luis for several years); New Mexico accounted for 49.4% of total cattle imports and the Texas ports accounted for 24.1% of the total. Santa Teresa, New Mexico is by far the largest port for cattle, accounting for 42.1% of total cattle imports in 2020 and just over 50% thus far in 2021. The two New Mexico ports along with Presidio, Texas all border the state of Chihuahua, meaning that the majority of U.S. imports of Mexican cattle originate in or pass through the Mexican state of Chihuahua (e.g. 55.1% in 2020).


“Several factors likely contributed to the increase in Mexican cattle imports in 2020 and the decrease this year. The already struggling Mexican economy was hit hard by the pandemic, further weakening beef demand last year. Related to that...