ABC News Australia — The live cattle trade to Indonesia is back on track with permits released for the second trimester and cattle already setting sail from Darwin port. The Indonesian Ministry of Trade on Monday evening signed off on the Ministry of Agriculture’s recommendation for 250,000 cattle to be imported over the next four months. Stuart Kemp from the Northern Territory Livestock Exporters Association said it was good news for the industry.
He said Australian exporters had acted quickly, with the Bison Express loaded overnight with about 3,000 head. “Exporters are now able to fill orders with those permits and the first vessel is sailing out this morning,” Mr Kemp said. “The Bison Express was loaded yesterday evening and has just departed for Indonesia.”
Mr Kemp said it had been an up-and-down year so far in terms of cattle numbers exported via Darwin port. But he said he was expecting the next four months to be more consistent. “A lot of those cattle for Indonesia [during the second trimester] will come out of Darwin,” Mr Kemp said.
“We saw over the wet season, January and February in particular, a lot of cattle went out of Queensland and it was fairly quiet here in the NT. “March was busy, but April was well down. “April numbers through the Darwin port were down close to 70,000 head on last year. “So this next four months will mean a fairly consistent flow of cattle through the port of Darwin.”
From a high of $3.90 a kilogram paid for some cattle at the start of the year, live export prices (ex-Darwin) have eased considerably and are now below $3 a kilogram – which historically is still exceptionally good money. Mr Kemp said there were no indicators to suggest the price would be going up or down during the second trimester and “only time will tell”. Another three live export ships are due into Darwin over the next week.