The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News
  • U.S. Dairy Exports Set a New Record in March

    By Marc A.H. Beck May 4, 2018

    On a total milk solids basis, exports were equivalent to 17.3 percent of U.S. milk production.  

    U.S. dairy exports set a new record high in March on a total volume basis surpassing the previous record high set in March 2014. Exports of whey protein concentrate and lactose each hit all-time highs.

    Suppliers shipped 204,453 tons of milk powder, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose during the month, up 26 percent from March 2017. U.S. exports were valued at $510 million, 8 percent greater than in March 2017 and the highest total value since April 2015.

    Ingredient sales drove much of the gains. Shipments of nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) to Southeast Asia were nearly double the prior-year level and sales to Mexico were the second-most ever. Shipments of lactose to China increased by 57 percent during the month and were at a record high.

    Overall NDM/SMP exports were 67,154 tons, up 38 percent from last year. Sales to Mexico increased 43 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 March 2018 to account for this misclassification.) 

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


    March Trade Stats (Final) _Page_1 (3) 


    Lactose exports were 37,966 tons in March, the most ever, and 19% greater than levels a year earlier. Shipments to China (9,282 tons) led the gains and were 57 percent greater than what they were in March 2017.

    Cheese exports were 33,844 tons in March, the most in ten months, and up 9 percent from a year earlier. U.S. suppliers increased sales to China (+56 percent) and Japan (+30 percent), which continued to offset slower sales to Mexico. Shipments to Mexico decreased 16 percent in March.

    Total whey exports were 53,079 tons in March, up 19 percent vs. the prior year. Shipments of whey protein concentrate were at an all-time high while exports of dry whey were at a nearly four-year high.

    Butterfat exports totaled 3,714 tons in March, up 180 percent from the year  before. Sales to Canada were up 129 percent. Shipments to the Middle East also firmed and rose 279 percent against low comparable figures one year ago.

    On a total milk solids basis, U.S. exports were equivalent to 17.3 percent of U.S. milk production in March. Imports were equivalent to just 3 percent.

    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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