Mexican cattle export data is reported on an annual cycle, a “crop year,” if you will, from September through August. The latest Mexican cattle export data through August 2013 shows a 12-month export total of about 800,000 head of cattle exports from Mexico to the U.S.
This is down 47 percent from the previous annual cycle. U.S. data confirms that the year-to-date pace of cattle imports implies a similar calendar year total. Of course, the previous year was the second largest ever, but the recent total is also 17 percent below the 2004-2010 annual average in the Mexican data.
Fewer cattle are coming to the U.S. from all of the key exporting states in Mexico compared to last year’s elevated levels. Several states are down, not only from last year, but also are below long-term average levels indicating the drawdown in cattle inventories in those states, which include Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, Veracruz and Zacatecas.
Two important exporting states, Durango and Sonora, whose exports were down in the 12-month period, were still exporting at levels higher than the long-term average. However, the long-term average in Durango reflects several years of reduced exports due to disease restrictions.
In general, the drop in Mexican cattle exports to the U.S. reflects an overall shortage of cattle inventories in the country as well as demand for cattle in Mexico to maintain domestic beef production.
Heath Herje is an agriculture educator with Cleveland County Cooperative Extension service.