US meat processor Tyson Foods has said plans are underway to end the temporary suspension of operations at its beef plants in the Upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest.

The affected plants will resume production on a staggered basis over the next two weeks, Tyson said.

Market conditions, such as a ban on imports of Canadian cattle, prompted Tyson to suspend operations on 10 January in Denison, Iowa; Norfolk and West Point, Nebraska; and Boise, Idaho. Second shift processing at Pasco, Washington, was also temporarily discontinued.

“While cattle numbers remain tight, we believe supplies will improve in the months ahead, especially as the anticipated flow of Canadian cattle resumes,” said John Tyson, chairman and chief executive officer of Tyson Foods.

“Beef demand has been weak, largely because of high beef prices and the attractive value of competing meats. We typically experience seasonal improvements in beef sales as we move into the spring and summer months. We’re hopeful cattle prices will moderate, so beef can be priced more competitively with other proteins,” Tyson added.

Tyson also commented on recent progress in US efforts to restart beef exports to Japan.

“While the technical agreement reached between the two countries is a positive step, we believe the US beef industry remains months away from any meaningful exports to the Far East,” he said.