March 2023 US Dairy Import/Export Volume Snapshot

March 2023 US Dairy Import/Export Volume Snapshot

  • From a volume standpoint, total US dairy exports fell in March 2023 vs. March 2022. However, historically speaking, total exports for March 2023 were in the top three, just behind 2022, according to US Census data. Mexican demand remained robust, UP 25% against prior year. During Q1, the US exported 408 million pounds of dairy products to its southern neighbor, an increase of 33% relative to the same period in 2022. Through the first quarter, Mexico holds a nearly 28% share of US exports, compared to Q1 2022, when that figure was slightly more than 21%. Exports to South Korea have tanked in 2023, down 54% from March 2022 and dropping 33% compared to the first quarter of 2022. US dairy exports to China rose annually in March and on the quarter, driven by healthy whey, fluid milk, cheese, and butter shipments.

  • Nonfat dry milk (NFDM) exports decreased in March relative to 2022, though important to note the previous two years were both tops in terms of March exports. Shipments to Mexico soared by 45%, totaling almost 93.6 million pounds and snagging 54% market share. Lost sales to Asian markets, such as China, the Philippines, and Vietnam, drove the overall drop in NFDM export volume. For Q1, 2023’s NFDM exports are tracking ahead of the same period in 2022 by 3% and are just 4% behind 2021, a record year.

  • Once again, cheese exports were down nominally YoY, falling 0.4%. Mexican demand soaked up a hefty 34% share, and US export volume to that market grew by 16% relative to March 2022. Cheese sailing to Australia also picked up steam, increasing 39% compared to prior year and taking 11% of total cheese exports for the month. US cheese exports to Asia dwindled as volumes declined to South Korea (-61% YoY) and Japan (-23% YoY). South Korea fell to fourth in US cheese export share, lower than its usual spot at #2 behind Mexico.

  • US butter exports tanked (again) in March 2023, down 36% vs. prior year, as the US was a net importer by 5.8 million pounds. Pricey butter at the end of last year killed demand, and March shipments were booked around that timeframe, making exports weak for much of Q1. Butter exports to key markets like Canada, Mexico, and South Korea were down year-over-year in March. Irish and Kiwi butter made up 93% of the imports to the US.

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