According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) last week, beef exports in September were 30.2% higher than last year in terms of value; 16.6% higher in terms of volume. For the month, the U.S. exported 86,182 metric tons of beef valued at $339.3 million.

For the year, beef exports are up 16% in volume and 27% in value to 766,791 metric tons valued at $2.9 billion.

“One of the reasons for the growth in beef exports and drop in beef imports for the last several months has been the declining value of the U.S. dollar,” says Darrell Mark, University of Nebraska ag economist. Writing in last week’s In the Cattle Markets, Mark explains, “Since its high near $88 last June, the U.S. Dollar Index fell $12 to $76 by the beginning of November and has since increased to $78, similar to levels at the beginning of the year.”

The value of beef exports in September, according to USMEF, equated to $151/head of steer and heifer slaughtered and accounted for 11% of total U.S. production. This compares to $118.17/head in September of 2009 when exports were 9.5% of total production. For the first nine months of 2010, the value of exports is $145.07/head, which is $8.60 more than values in 2003, prior to the discovery of BSE in the U.S.