The U.S. may ship the most beef ever in 2011, after doubling its share of the world market in four years, as demand from Asia revives a $3.84 billion export industry.


Shipments will jump 17% to 2.68 billion lbs. this year, exceeding the previous record set in 2003, according to Centennial, Colorado-based CattleFax, which has researched the industry for four decades. Global trade in refrigerated meat, including overland shipments, expanded 2% to 31 million tons last year, Clarkson Research Services Ltd., a unit of the world’s largest shipbroker, estimates.


The sales surge is part of an agriculture boom that will generate record income of $94.7 billion this year as American farmers fill supply gaps left by droughts and floods ruining crops, the U.S. government estimates. Consumers in the U.S. faced the highest ever retail prices for beef in the first four months and costs will rise as much as 8% this year, more than any major food group, the government says.


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