A ban on Australia’s northern live export trade to Indonesia would have devastating consequences for the nation’s entire cattle industry, according to the Cattle Council of Australia.
CCA chief executive officer David Inall said independent economic analysis had shown that demand for cattle from the northern live export trade helped to underpin cattle prices right across the country.
The analysis indicated that the live trade added almost 8c/kg to the price of all cattle sold nationwide, whether they were going to the live cattle markets or not.
“There has always been significant concern that without the live cattle trade, and particularly to Indonesia, that there would be half a million cattle that needed to find a market within Australia,” Mr Inall said.
Indonesia took 520,000 cattle worth $318 million last year, representing about 60pc of Australia’s total live cattle trade.
For some northern producers, the live cattle trade accounts for 100 percent of their annual turnoff.
Cattle normally destined for the trade would have to find processing markets much further south and east, which would have an immediate impact on the Queensland cattle market.
Cattle would also be likely to compete on markets further south, as occurred in the wake of the Indonesian Government’s decision in June last year to limit imports to cattle weighing a maximum of 350kg.
Following that decision large consignments of heavier cattle were transported through Alice Springs south to meatworks in South Australia, Western Victoria and Queensland. Freight rates from north-western parts of the continent were at times above $250 a head.
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