Federally inspected slaughter figures for the four-week period ended August 5 showed an average weekly kill of 630,750 which is still running at 3.8% above the same time last year.

USDA announced the figures from their July inventory showing that cattle and calves on feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head amounted to 10.9 million which was 5% up on 2005 and 7% up on 2004. This is the second highest level since the series began in 1996.

Placements in feedlots in June totalled 1.95 million, 10% higher than 2005 and 18% above 2004. Again this is the second highest for the month of June and marketing of fed cattle during the month amounted to 2.2 million, 6% up on 2005 and 2004 and ranking second highest since 1996.

According to USDA the overall cattle inventory rose 1% with all cattle and calves in the US as of July 1 totalling 105.7 million head. This was 1% up on the 104.5 million the year before and 2% above the 103.4 million the previous year.

Japanese officials have rejected US requests to schedule talks about opening the Japanese market to beef from cattle over twenty but under thirty months of age.

US raw hides sold for export in the four-week period ended July 27 still sees China in pole position, although with a reduced amount of 798,000 (1,062,100). Hong Kong was in fifth place with 96,900 (29,800), giving China and Hong Kong a combined total of 894,900 down from 1,091,900 the month before.

Korea again took second place with 301,800 (235,700) with Taiwan in third place at 177,800 (98,700) and Japan next with 100,900 (113,200). Sixth position went to Mexico down from third place with 78,000 (119,800) then Thailand with 39,300 (35,100).

Italy bought 35,400 (13,000), Vietnam 20,500 (27,500), Dominican Republic 9,600 (9,600), and Spain 1,700 (2,500). Türkiye purchased 12,200 (3,400) and India 800.

Italy also purchased 19,300 (11,300) calf and kip and Japan 5,100 (1,200) kip. In joint third position, Mexico and the Netherlands both purchased 1,400 kip.

When it came to wet-blues, Hong Kong was in first position with 84,600 (139,800) followed by China with 80,600 (97,800) giving a combined total of 165,200 (237,600). Korea came third with 62,600 (37,200), then Italy with 34,900 (600,700), Taiwan 29,600 (8,200), Indonesia 24,300, the Dominican Republic 17,700 (41,800) and Thailand 12,000 (24,100).

Mexico came ninth with 6,400 (39,100) followed by Spain with 3,700, El Salvador with 2,600 (3,400), Canada with 2,000, Costa Rica 1,400, Portugal 1,300 and Japan with 1,200.

Italy took more than half of the wet-blue splits sold for export during the period under review with 4,029,000lb (658,200lb). China bought 1,578,000lb (239,400) and Hong Kong 953,700lb (3,321,300lb) giving them a combined total of 2,531,700 (3,560,700lb).

A further 165,000lb were sold to Indonesia and 132,000lb to Thailand.