U.S. imports of meat and dairy in the January to July period were mixed compared to the same period last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported in its latest “Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Outlook.” Imports of beef, lamb/mutton and dairy increased, while pork imports declined, the agency said.
Beef imports increased 8.5% from January through July. Of major foreign beef suppliers to the U.S., imports from Australia and Canada declined, while those from New Zealand, Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay and Nicaragua increased.
July 2020 beef imports totaled 377 million lb., up 41% year over year. USDA said July’s imports were the second largest since June 2005. Also, similar to June beef imports, July’s increase of 110 million lb. year over year was motivated by strong demand for processing-grade beef.
USDA raised its forecast for beef imports in second half of 2020 due to the expectation for sustained demand for processing-grade beef. This raised the annual 2020 import forecast 7% above last year.
Imports of pork declined almost 12%, mostly due to reduced imports from Poland. USDA is forecasting total 2020 pork imports at 861 million lb., down nearly 9% from last year.
The decline in lamb imports from both Australia and New Zealand was more than offset by increased imports of mutton from these two countries. Combined lamb and mutton imports increased 6.7%.
The 2.4% increase in dairy imports was mostly due to increased imports of butterfat products: butter, anhydrous milkfat and high-fat dairy spreads.