During the four weeks under review, slaughter figures dipped due to the July 4 national holiday closure of plants. The weekly average was 615,000.

This compares with 606,000 in the same period last year and goes some way to catch up with the general fall in slaughter figures so far this year. For the year to date, FIS is running at 3% less than 2004, from a high of more than 4% earlier in the year.

The reopening of the Canadian border may have an impact on North American slaughter but the jury is still out on that one. USDA are being urged by the American Meat Institute to permit imports of cattle of 30 months of age and older. In a letter to the Agriculture Secretary, J Patrick Boyle, AMI president, said: ‘Many US beef packers that specialise in the slaughter of older animals still find themselves in an extremely difficult economic situation because cattle over 30 months are not permitted entry from Canada.’

Hopefully the Canadian border will remain open now that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed an injunction which kept the border closed. In a 56-page opinion, the court ruled that R-CALF, which brought a complaint against USDA over their move to reopen the border on March 7 this year, failed in all respects in their complaint. The opinion refutes all of R-CALF’s assertions.

Following on from Tyson, Cargill and Swift, the three largest US beef packers, who all reduced slaughter earlier this year, National Beef are to close two Kansas plants on Saturdays for an indefinite period and Swift have closed their Nampa plant in Idaho.

Probably the biggest news of the month was that Adidas had bought Reebok and one has to wonder what the monopoly regulators will think of that but no obstructions are envisaged at this point. Adidas-Salomans are said to be willing to pay $3.8 billion in an effort to expand their US market.

The virtual closure of GST (formerly Garden State) in Williamsport and the ongoing saga of bankruptcy hanging over Irving Tanning are other issues which have been in the news. With the aid of a state loan, Irving were still working during July to allow for the completion of the sale of the company.

Exports of raw hides in the four-week period to July 28 confirmed China in first place with 726,900, followed once more by Korea with 381,900. Mexico was in third place with 161,500, then Taiwan with 159,000, Hong Kong with 112,500, and Japan with 82,200.

Thailand took a respectable 74,000 followed by Italy 14,600, Vietnam 12,800, Indonesia 8,400, the Dominican Republic 7,200, the United Kingdom and Argentina with 5,500 each, Türkiye 5,200 and Bulgaria 600.

At the same time Italy took 5,000 calf and 3,300 kip; Japan 1,300 calf and 8,400 kip; China 4,500 calf and 1,700 kip; Mexico 3,300 kip; India 3,400 kip; the Netherlands 2,900 calf; and Canada 1,500 kip.

When it came to wet-blues, Italy was the biggest customer with 226,000. Hong Kong was in second place with 128,700, followed by the Dominican Republic 45,700; Indonesia 44,600; Mexico 37,100; Taiwan 36,900; Korea 30,400; China 21,900; Thailand 18,900; Japan 4,900; Canada 2,900; and Pakistan 1,800.

China took 1,085,400lb of wet-blue splits and Hong Kong 1,223,400lb. Other buyers were Taiwan 696,200lb, Italy 674,100; and Mexico 88,600lb. Korea were reported as having cancelled three contracts for a total of 480,000lb.