Cargill to resume receiving cattle at Kansas plant early next week: spokesman

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Cargill stopped receiving cattle for slaughter at its Dodge City, Kansas, beef plant after an explosion on Thursday but it expects to resume early next week, a company spokesman said on Friday.

The company continues to process carcasses it had on hand at the time of the Thursday explosion, which occurred in a stand-alone building outside the main facility and injured two workers.

Still, cattle futures fell this week due in part to fears that the interruption at the plant, which can process up to 6,000 head per day, would cause cattle supplies to back up at feedlots.

Cargill is working with its other plants to receive cattle and meet customer commitments, spokesman Daniel Sullivan said in an email. Cargill is the world’s largest producer of ground beef.

The incident occurred at a building that processed blood into blood meal, a feed and soil additive. The building is next to the meat-packing plant, however, causing the company to halt cattle delivery.

A fire in August at a Tyson Foods Inc slaughterhouse in Holcomb, Kansas, with similar processing capacity depressed cattle futures while boosting beef prices, sending margins for the U.S. beef industry to a record high. Tyson is rebuilding the plant.

Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Alistair Bell