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Live Cattle Exports Shoot Up Down Under

05 February 2009

AUSTRALIA - Overseas demand for healthy, quality Australian cattle in 2008 delivered record returns and surging volumes with a 20 per cent increase in live cattle export numbers and a record-breaking A$644 million contribution to the Australian economy.

Australia exported 869,545 cattle last year, an increase of 150,000 from the 719,482 head exported in 2007, says Meat and Livestock Australia. The total value of all livestock exports, including cattle, sheep and goats was A$974 million for the year.

“The live cattle trade from Australia contributed a record A$644 million to the Australian economy last year,” said MLA Livestock Exports Manager, Michael Finucan. “This record revenue for Australia demonstrates the importance of the livestock export industry to our farming families and communities and to our trading partners, particularly Indonesia which took its largest ever volume of Australian cattle last year.

“Australian cattle are well known for being high quality, healthy and disease-free. They’re well-cared for on the Aussie farm, during the voyage overseas and in in-market feedlots. This reputation for quality and commitment to animal welfare is helping drive demand and volumes.”

Indonesia remains Australia’s largest live cattle export market taking 651,196 head (75 per cent of total exports), up from 516,992 head in 2007 and valued at A$419 million. This is a 26 per cent increase on 2007 volumes, and the largest ever yearly volume of cattle sent to Indonesia.

“Indonesia is a key industry partner and demands high quality, healthy Australian cattle to ensure its growing communities have access to affordable protein. Australian cattle are well suited to the Indonesian climate and the Indonesian livestock industry is investing in animal welfare programs and infrastructure,” said Mr Finucan.

The Israel and Libyan markets continue to grow, with Israel the second largest market for Australian cattle, taking 44,109 head and Libya close behind with 38,113 head. It is anticipated these markets will continue to remain strong in 2009.

The Russian market opened in 2006, and is now the fourth largest market for Australian live cattle exports, taking 100 per cent breeding animals in order to rebuild their herds and improve their domestic production. In 2008 Russia took 20,071 head of breeding cattle with a value of A$53 million.

Overseas demand for Australian live cattle is forecast to remain strong, particularly from Indonesia and the Middle East/North Africa. These markets are still expanding and are realising the benefit of the lower Australian dollar. However, herd rebuilding efforts in the Northern Territory are expected to constrain available supplies for the livestock export trade in 2009, with total exports forecast to drop back six percent on 2008 levels.

Cattle are transported to overseas markets by sea, with accredited Australian stockmen caring for all livestock during the voyage and accredited Australian veterinarians on board all voyages to the Middle East. All animals have constant access to food and water, with room to move around and lie down. In 2007/08 over 99.9 per cent of cattle arrived fit and healthy at their destination after being well cared for during the voyage.

Australian sheep exports grew 11 per cent to 4.2 million in 2008, contributing A$321 million to the Australian economy, while goat volumes softened to 79,000 head.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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