US dairy exports reached an all-time high in 2007, outnumbering dairy imports for the first time in a decade.

The Washington-based International Dairy Foods Association said the value of exports grew 62% to US$3bn (GBP1.54bn), compared to $2.8bn worth of imports.

Mexico, Canada and Japan accounted for around 40% of total volumes.

Dry whey products led at 422m kg, while non-fat dry milk volumes shrank slightly due to price increases.

The highly processed dry products for large-scale production saw greater demand in south-central and south-eastern Asian markets experiencing more westernised diets, according to the figures.

China was the leading customer for whey and lactose, pushing the number of non-fluid exports to 1.35bn kg.

Reduced production in Australia and a declining US dollar also helped drive growth.