The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News
  • April U.S. Dairy Exports Surge to All-Time High

    By Marc A.H. Beck June 7, 2018

    On a total milk solids basis, exports were equivalent to 18.8 percent of U.S. milk production. Volume up 31 percent from April 2017.

    On a total volume basis, U.S. dairy exports were at an all-time high during April. Exports surpassed the previous record set just one month prior in March 2018. Shipments of whey protein concentrate and lactose were each at highs during the month. Exports of milk powder and whey products were the second-highest ever.

    Suppliers shipped 213,115 tons of milk powder, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose during the month, up 31 percent from April 2017. U.S. exports were valued at $518 million, 1.7 percent greater than in March and 15 percent larger than levels in April 2017. On a dollar-basis, exports were the highest total value since April 2015.

    Ingredient sales again drove the gains. Shipments of nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) to Southeast Asia were up by 70 percent and sales to Mexico were the fourth-highest ever. Shipments of lactose to China, for the third month in a row, were at record highs.

    Overall NDM/SMP exports were 76,052 tons, up 37 percent from last year. Sales to Mexico increased 30 percent from the previous year.

    (Official U.S. Bureau of Census data continues to show an increase in WMP exports to Mexico. However, Mexican import data and trade sources don’t corroborate this, and we believe this volume represents SMP sales that were misclassified at the port. Therefore, we’ve adjusted NDM/SMP and WMP trade data for June 2016 to April 2018 to account for this misclassification.)

    Lactose exports were 37,986 tons in April, the most ever, and 23 percent greater than levels a year earlier. Shipments to China (10,626 tons) again led the gains and were 79 percent greater than what they were in April 2017.

    Cheese exports were 32,865 tons in April, up 22 percent from a year earlier and (on a daily-average basis) on par with March 2018. April cheese sales to Mexico topped the previous year for the first time in three months, rising 11 percent. Shipments also continued higher to Japan (+31 percent) and South Korea (+15 percent).

    Total whey exports were 53,665 tons in April, up 24 percent vs. the prior year. Record shipments of whey protein concentrate were led by sales to East Asia up 123 percent.

    Butterfat exports totaled 4,945 tons in April, up 190 percent from the year before. Sales to Mexico shot up 1,172 percent against a low comparable and totaled 2,292 tons. Shipments to Canada were up 37 percent.

    On a total milk solids basis, U.S. exports were equivalent to 18.8 percent of U.S. milk production in April. Imports were equivalent to just 3.1 percent.

    For more detailed trade data accompanied by tables and charts, download USDEC’s three-page (PDF) document below.


    April all time high3



    To use interactive charts with current and historical trade data, see's page on U.S. export data.

    Marc Beck is Middle East/North Africa business unit director for the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

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    The U.S. Dairy Export Council fosters collaborative industry partnerships with processors, trading companies and others to enhance global demand for U.S. dairy products and ingredients. USDEC is primarily supported by Dairy Management Inc. through the dairy farmer checkoff. How to republish this post.  

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