Statistics compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation shows that August was another outstanding month for U.S. pork and beef exports. Pork exports reached their highest monthly volume of the year at 186,068 metric tons, and the second-highest value total of all time at $531.2 million. Also, during August, beef exports set an all-time monthly value record at $514.2 million on a strong volume of 116,405 metric tons. Both pork and beef exports are on pace to set new value records in 2011 and to eclipse the $5 billion mark for the first time ever.
During August, pork exports surged in Asia, Canada, Russia, and Southern Hemisphere markets. Export volume was 27% higher than a year ago and value was 44% higher, surpassing the March 2011 record. Year-to-date exports were nearly 1.44 million metric tons valued at $3.82 billion, an increase of 16% in volume and 23% in value over last year's pace. For the year, pork exports equated to 27.3% of production with a per head value of $53.98.
August exports to Japan, the leading value market for U.S. pork, were 28% higher than a year ago in volume and 37% higher in value $168.4 million. For the year, exports to Korea were 142% higher in volume and 192% higher in value at $374.5 million, setting new full-year records. And Mexico continues to be the top volume destination for U.S. pork with export value up 2% to just under $654 million.
Beef exports continue to show strength in nearly all major markets. A strong August performance pushed beef exports 26% higher for the year in volume and 39% higher in value of $3.58 billion. For the year, beef exports equated to 14.2% of production with a value of $200.75 per head.
Though down from the record pace established in July, beef exports to Canada remained very strong with value set at $114.6 million. This was 44% higher in volume and 55% higher in value than in August 2010. So far this year, the value of beef exports to Canada is a new full-year record of $709.7 million. Mexico was the volume pacesetter for U.S. beef and second in value at $646 million. The Middle East continued to shine as a region of tremendous growth for U.S. beef, with totals through August running 37% higher than last year in volume and 46% higher in value.
Lamb exports during August challenged all-time volume, value records. After a somewhat slow start, U.S. lamb exports have climbed 72% ahead of last year's pace in terms of volume and 42% higher in value at $21.2 million. Exports are already near the annual volume record of 13,934 metric tons set in 2006. Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean continue to be the mainstay markets, but exports are also showing promise in Central America and the Middle East.