ABC Rural

By Matt Brann

Thu 12 Dec 2013

Photo: Some of the 80,00+ cattle which will be exported out of Darwin this month. (Matt Brann)

After a few tough years, the live cattle trade in Australia’s north is ending 2013 on a high.

Thousands of cattle are being shipped, prices are strong and the Darwin port is on track to break a record.

Both the Dareen and Finola are due to leave the Darwin port today, and it’s expected more than 80,000 head will be shipped out of Darwin in December (a monthly record for the port).

Brian Scott, from the NT Livestock Exporters Association (NTLEA), says it’s been a big effort by everyone across the supply chain.

“It’s great to see the cattle going out in these large numbers,” he said.

“It’s good for the people of the Northern Territory, the producers, and everyone along the supply chain.

“Everyone is very happy to have such a busy end to the year, the cattle are going out, they’re all in good condition and people are very positive about the future.”

Feeder steers to Indonesia are now fetching up to $2.25 a kilogram, but how long those high prices will last will depend on the upcoming release of import permits for 2014.

“It’s unknown what will happen next year. We’re still waiting on (next year’s) permits to be released from Indonesia,” Mr Scott said.

“We’ll also find out next year how this price based system is going to work.

“We need a consistent flow of cattle going into Indonesia, as Indonesia needs a consistent flow of cattle as well, so it’s one of those things that we’ve just got to suck it and see.”