Cattle exports in-line with MLA projections

14 November 2017

Key points

  • Feeder and slaughter cattle exports edged above 66,000 head in October, which represents a 5% lift year-on-year. Shipments for the calendar year-to-October are back 23% compared with the same period last year at 631,000 head
  • Prospect of further cattle exports to Turkey, as the Turkish government targets a 700,000 head import quota in order to control domestic beef prices 
  • October sheep exports declined 38% year-on-year driven by Qatar and Kuwait with Turkey emerging as the largest destination for sheep for the month.


Shipments of feeder and slaughter cattle to Indonesia in October totalled 38,646 head, an increase of 37% year-on-year – albeit off a low base following a return in exports post the disruption caused by the Indonesian government’s introduction of the breeder policy rule.

A decline in cattle exports to Indonesia is to be expected heading towards the end of the year, underpinned by high Australia cattle prices and the presence of Indian buffalo meat (IBM). Current wet market prices for IBM in the Greater Jakarta and West Java area continue to vary and range from IDR 80,000-100,000/kg, while fresh beef trades at a premium from IDR 105,000-115,000/kg. The Indonesian Bureau of Logistics (BULOG) plans to import around 9,000 tonnes (IBM) during the next two months.

Exports of breeder cattle continue to fall somewhat behind the 5:1 breeder policy requirements, totaling 1,354 head in October. However, if prices move in the right direction for importers, more could be expected before the end of the year. Total cattle exports to Indonesian for the calendar year are forecast to surpass 500,000 head.

Cattle exports to Vietnam totalled 11,774 head, back 29% year-on-year. The availability of local (regional) cattle at the moment in Vietnam remains strong, Australian cattle sales are therefore still relatively subdued due to higher prices or lower profitability in abattoirs. However, demand for Australian cattle will be supported in the lead up to Vietnamese New Year in February. MLA estimates cattle shipments to Vietnam to finish the year at approximately 160,000 head.

Following two consecutive months of no recorded shipments to China, there were 6,138 head of breeder cattle exported in October, an increase of 58% year-on-year. For the calendar year-to-date exports are down 37%, to 51,162 head - underpinned by weak demand in the dairy industry in China.

Cattle exports to Turkey totalled 11,253 head – the first recorded shipment of cattle to Turkey for the calendar year. The Turkish government is aiming to import an estimated 700,000 head of cattle this year in order to control beef prices in the country, with Australian cattle in the short term being used as a means to reach the target. The majority of cattle supplied to Turkey come from Europe and South America and this continues to be the case.

For the calendar year-to-October, cattle exports to Malaysia were just above 12,500 head, a decline of 56 % year-on-year. Cheaper cattle from Thailand continue to support demand in Malaysia.



October sheep exports were 138,302 head, a decline of 38% year-on-year.

The single largest recipient of Australian sheep in October was Turkey, with just under 60,000 head shipped. The government in Turkey is importing sheep from Romania and Australia, with a preference for the quality of Australian sheep. In-market reports suggest the consignment will be used for processing purposes in the short-term. Calendar year-to-date exports sheep exports to Turkey totalled, 138,000 head, only behind that of Qatar and Kuwait.

Exports to Kuwait in October were just under 45,000 head, back 60 % year-on-year. Shipments to Qatar totalled 32,000 head, back 49% compared to the same period last year.

The underlying trends remain unchanged in the Middle-eastern markets. Demand in Qatar is being driven by preparations for the 2022 Soccer World Cup; significant numbers of expatriate workers from the sub-continent are working on large construction projects across the country which has seen growing demand for imported product.



Goat exports were 891 head in October, bringing consignments for the calendar year-to-October to 8,576 head – down 83% compared with the same period last year.

The decline was driven by a combination of the sustained increase in Australian prices over the past two years and importers seeking alternative supplies.

Shipments to Malaysia accounted for all goat exports in October. For the calendar year-to-date exports were back 87%, at 5,172 head. Malaysian importers have increasingly looked to goat suppliers in Myanmar and Thailand.

Click here for the live export statistics summary for October

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