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U.S. Dairy Exports Reach Record Levels for Fourth Consecutive Year

Aug 20, 2007

U.S. Dairy Exports Reach Record Levels for Fourth Consecutive Year

The value of U.S. dairy product exports reached a new all-time high for the first half of 2007, totaling $1.2 billion and beating the previous record set last year by $293 million, or 32%. This marks the fourth consecutive year that dairy exports have posted record highs during the first six months, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service.

With the export value for the first half 2007 already more than 60% of last years' full total, U.S. dairy exports appear to be well on their way to setting another full-year record. The quantity of products exported is growing as well; through June, 1.6 billion pounds of product have been shipped overseas, showing an increase of 27% over the same period in 2006.

The level of U.S. dairy imports also rose during the first six months of 2007 but not nearly so fast. The quantity of imports rose 2.1%, reaching 870 million pounds or just about half the overall volume of exports. Import value grew also, rising 2.6% to $1.3 billion. Dairy products imported into the United States are usually higher-end, value-added products. This is why the value of imports often exceeds exports, even though the export volumes are greater.

Three primarily dried products - lactose, whey, and nonfat dry milk (NFDM) - make up about three-quarters of the volume of 2007 exports, and a small portion of the whey volume is liquid. Although these products also dominated export volume for 2006, their ranking has changed: lactose moved from the third spot to become the leading export product through the first half of 2007 at over 470 million pounds. Whey, the former frontrunner, is a close second at 430 million pounds, while NFDM is a more distant third at 283 million pounds.

By virtue of large, efficient plants, the United States has a competitive advantage in production of these products, but they represent a much smaller share (60%) of export value to date, because they are low-priced commodity products in the world market. In fact, lactose is so inexpensive that it ranks fourth behind NFDM, whey and cheese in terms of total value exported.

The export quantity and value of almost every product has increased for the first half of 2007 versus the same period in 2006. Exports of condensed/evaporated milk showed the largest increase in both quantity and value, growing by more than 20 million pounds (+172%) and by $15 million (+251%). Butter/milkfat and lactose exports also increased more than 50% in volume and value; butter/milkfat export volume was up 77% while value increased 105%, and lactose export volume rose by 93% while value grew by 85%. Other products showing increases in export value are whey (+84%), yogurt/fermented products (+76%) and casein (+56%).

U.S Dairy-Related Trade, Jan. - June
EXPORTS Quantity(Million pounds) Value(Million dollars)
  2006 2007 2006 2007
LACTOSE 245.2 472.0 79.4 146.9
WHEY 354.6 429.0 148.5 272.7
NON-FAT DRY MILK 319.9 283.0 303.2 313.6
CHEESE & CURD 76.9 105.5 116.4 172.9
CONDENSED/ EVAP MILK 13.5 36.7 6.1 21.4
ICE CREAM 35.4 32.4 35.4 32.9
FLUID MILK/CREAM 21.2 27.0 7.4 10.2
BUTTER/MILKFAT 9.5 16.9 8.2 16.8
DRY WHOLE MILK/CREAM 14.4 12.8 10.0 9.8
YOGURT/FERMENTED 4.5 6.0 8.5 14.9
CASEIN 3.5 5.1 10.3 16.1
OTHER DAIRY PRODUCTS 123.1 127.4 172.2 170.1
TOTAL EXPORTS 1,221.7 1,553.7 $905.7 $1,198.3
TOTAL IMPORTS 849.5 867.4 $1,246.2 $1,279.1
Source: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

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Posted August 20, 2007

Dairy Delivers