July 17, 2017
U.S. beef trade evolving, part 2: exports
by Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist
U.S. beef exports have varied in the quantity of exports and the mix of countries receiving U.S. beef over many years. The latest trade data for May shows total beef exports up 6.8 percent compared to one year ago with January through May total beef exports up 17.1 percent for the year to date. May beef exports were down to Canada, Mexico and South Korea while exports were strongly higher year over year to Japan and Hong Kong. Year-to-date beef exports are up year over year to all major U.S. beef export destinations. This follows annual growth of 12.6 percent in total beef exports in 2016 which included increased year over year exports to Japan, South Korea and Mexico along with Taiwan and Vietnam. 2016 exports to Canada and Hong Kong were down year over year.
Continued growth in beef exports to Japan has helped the country to once again be the largest U.S. beef export market since 2013. Prior to the first U.S. case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in 2003, Japan routinely represented one third to nearly one half of total U.S. beef exports. 2016 beef exports to Japan were 29 percent smaller than the 2003 total. However, total U.S. beef exports recovered and surpassed the 2003 export total in 2011 due to the increasing role of other markets post-BSE along with regrowth in Japan.
South Korea is currently the second largest U.S. be export market, a position that it had achieved prior to BSE in 2003. Like Japan, South Korea was largely out of the U.S. market post-BSE and recovered second place status only in 2016. South Korea has shown robust growth the past couple of years and was the only major beef export market to increase in 2015, during the record high U.S. prices.
Mexico was the only major market to remain largely open after BSE and as a result has had the largest average beef export share over the past decade. However, beef exports to Mexico have generally decreased after peaking in 2008. Mexico’s share of beef exports is under 15 percent so far in 2017 but total exports are still up 6.8 percent year over year following a nearly 9 percent annual increase in 2016. Beef trade with Mexico has become much more integrated and product specific in recent years with growth in beef imports from Mexico.
Canada is currently the fourth largest beef export market with 2017 year to date share of nearly 12 percent. Canada’s share of total U.S. beef exports has generally declined in recent years though, like Mexico, Canada has had a larger share in the post-BSE world. Beef exports to Canada in 2016 exceeded the level prior to BSE in 2003.
The biggest change in U.S. beef export markets in recent years has been the emergence of Hong Kong as a major market. Hong Kong has a current year to date market share nearly equal to Canada. However, total exports to Hong Kong declined the past two years after peaking in 2014. Expected growth in beef exports to China may be partially offset by decreased exports to Hong Kong as the territory is a known point of transshipment of beef into China.
U.S. beef exports have become somewhat more diverse over time with additional markets and more balance across those markets. At times in recent years, Taiwan and Vietnam have had larger shares of beef exports. The impact of this growing list of markets not only impacts the total quantity of exports but the types and values of products exported. In general, Asian markets for U.S. beef have increased in relative share and importance while the North American markets have declined slightly. China adds potential for the role of Asian markets to increase even more in coming years.
Time of day of harvest and impact on nitrate concentration
by Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension animal scientist
Forage sorghums are used by cattle producers for summer grazing or harvested for hay. Forage sorghums can be very productive and high quality, but can also accumulate toxic levels of nitrate when stressed. In the past, the assumption was made that the plant continues soil nitrate uptake during nighttime hours, followed by accelerated conversion of the nitrate to protein during daylight hours. Therefore past recommendations have been to wait until afternoon to cut forage sorghum for hay if anticipated nitrate levels are marginally high. You have heard the old adage: “Never assume anything….”
To evaluate the significance of the change in nitrate concentration in forage sorghums during the day, Oklahoma State University Extension County and Area Educators collected samples at two hour intervals from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Five cooperator’s fields (“farm”) were divided into quadrants. Three random samples, consisting of ten stems each, were taken from each quadrant at the specified interval. The samples were analyzed at the Oklahoma State University Soil, Water, and Forage Analytical Laboratory to determine the level of nitrates, in parts per million (ppm).
As expected, differences between “farms” were substantial and significant. The mean concentration of nitrate for individual farms varied from only 412 ppm to 8935 ppm. The mean nitrate concentrations across all farms were 3857, 3768, 4962, 4140, 4560, and 4077 ppm for samples at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 6 p.m., respectively. Remember, most laboratories consider nitrate concentrations at, or above 10,000 ppm potentially lethal. There was much more variation between farms than between harvest times. Time of day of harvest did not impact nitrate concentration or proportion of dangerous samples of forage sorghum hay. Don’t be misled and believe that cutting the hay late in the day will solve all of the potential dangers of nitrate toxicity. Source: Levalley and co-workers. 2008 Oklahoma State University Animal Science Research Report.
Cow-Calf Corner is a newsletter from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Agency.
July 17, 2017