Feeder and slaughter cattle exports were 27 percent lower in 2016-17 than the previous financial year, latest export data reported by Meat & Livestock Australia shows.
Australia exported 802,000 feeder and slaughter cattle in 2016-17, down from 1,099,563 cattle in 2015-16.
The high price of Australian cattle and demand challenges in both the large Indonesian and Vietnam markets were key factors in the decline.
Total cattle exports to Indonesia over the fiscal year totalled 525,000 head, down 7.5 percent year-on-year. However, for the calendar year-to-date feeder and slaughter cattle exports were recorded at 220,000 head, 29pc below year-ago volumes.
Shipments to Indonesia continue to be impacted by the presence of Indian Buffalo Meat (IBM) across Indonesia. IBM continues to challenge Australian live cattle exports, at a time of reduced availability and high domestic prices. Looking ahead, the potential implications of the 5:1 breeder policy could further inhibit importers desire to purchase feeder and slaughter cattle from Australia.
Current wet market prices for IBM in the Greater Jakarta area continue to vary and range from IDR 80,000-110,000/kg, while fresh beef trades at a premium from IDR 115,000-120,000/kg.
Fiscal year cattle exports to Vietnam fell 44pc year-on-year, at just below 158,000 head. Exports for the first six months are also back a further 26pc, at 92,000 head, indicating an improvement on the previous 6 month period – high Australian cattle prices continue to limit shipments to Vietnam.
For the 2016-17 fiscal year, exports of breeder cattle to China were back 43pc, at 67,000 head. China remains the largest importer of Australian breeder cattle, accounting for 74pc of all trade throughout the financial year.
The primary reason for the reduction in breeder exports to China is due to weak demand in the dairy industry but also impacted by pedigree policy changes in the beef and dairy sector.
The pedigree policy changes dictate the percent of breeder consignments that must include category 1 heifers. However, the Australian market absorbs most of these full pedigree heifers and exporters are unwilling to compete for these cattle at such high prices.
Source: Meat & Livestock Australia