Dr. Derrell Peel Talks Record Beef Exports in 2021


Oklahoma Farm Report

11 Oct 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 how 2021 has been a record year for U.S. beef exports.


In the latest livestock trade data, August beef exports were up 21.3% year over year with year-to-date total beef exports also up 21.0% from 2020. Beef exports in the month of August were an all-time record for any month. Beef exports continue to be fueled mostly by the strong growth in the China/HK market, up 160.5% year over year in August. Monthly exports for August were also higher year over year to Japan, up 10.4% and Mexico, up 49.1% over last year’s sharp drop. August beef exports were down to South Korea, 9.0%; Canada, down 6.4% and Taiwan, down 12.7%.


The previous record for annual beef exports was in 2018. However, 2021 beef exports are up 9.1 over 2018 for the January - August period and are forecasted to finish this year 8.0 - 9.0% above the 2018 level. Changes in the composition of beef exports since 2018 show how U.S. beef export markets are developing. Japan remains the largest export market for U.S. beef but is declining in total and as a share of total beef exports. For the first eight months of 2021, beef exports to Japan are down 7.5 from 2018 and the share of total beef exports to Japan have dropped from 28.9% in 2018 to 24.5% this year. South Korea continues to be the second largest beef export market with exports growing by 23.9% since 2018. South Korea’s share of total beef exports in the January to August period has increased from 20.6% in 2018 to 23.4% in 2021. South Korea is closing on and may surpass Japan in the next few months as the largest U.S. beef export market. In four of the eight months so far this year (January, February, April and May), monthly beef exports to South Korea have exceeded exports to Japan.


However, China/HK is the most rapidly growing beef export market and could surpass both Japan and South Korea in not too many months. Beef exports to China/HK are up 163.4%...