Market watch: Livestock exports in February

14 March 2018

Cattle exports in February totalled just above 72,000 with numbers boosted by a return of shipments to Russia and Turkey. Turkey was the largest recipient for sheep exports in February, as total shipments edged higher year-on-year to 170,000 head.


Feeder and slaughter cattle exports to Indonesia in February were 35,600 head – significantly higher than the 21,000 head shipped in February 2017 (the lowest month recorded in 2017).  Feeder and slaughter cattle exports for the two months ending February were 74,500 head, up 22% on the same period last year.

Cattle exports to Indonesiacontinue to be challenged by the establishment of Indian buffalo meat into the wet markets across the country. Indonesia has issued permits for an additional 100,000 tonnes of Indian buffalo meat, valid until the end of 2018, as part of continued efforts to keep beef prices affordable.

Cattle exports to Vietnam inFebruary totalled 6,500 slaughter cattle, a relatively low figure as importers had already secured supplies for the high beef demand for the Vietnamese New Year festival (TET), celebrated during the second half of February.  There were fewer cattle slaughtered in TET this year, compared with distinct spikes in slaughter volume through the festival period in previous years.  An overall slower economy contributed to this.

Cattle shipments to Turkey were 8,150 head, the first shipment since November 2017.

Shipments to Russia returned for the first time since March 2016, totalling 13,700 in February.  This volume is unlikely to continue in 2018 and fulfilled a one-off, specific order.


Sheep exports in February totalled 170,400 head, a 2% lift on the same month last year. The single largest recipient of Australian sheep was Turkey, with just under 73,000 head shipped.

Shipments to Turkeycame back online last year, as the Turkish government seeks to provide options to address increasing prices as domestic production falls behind demand. Turkey has been importing sheep from Romania and Australia, with a preference for high quality Australian sheep. Furthermore, there are positive indications that Turkey will look to commence the import of breeding ewes to support domestic breeding programs.

Shipments to Qatar totalled 45,000 head, back 10% compared to the same period last year. However, exports still reflect the strong demand for sheep meat in the region, in particular from Qatar as demand is being driven by preparations for the 2022 Soccer World Cup.

Exports to Kuwait in February were just under 24,000 head, back 60% year-on-year.  Demand during religious festivals of Eid is anticipated to decline due to its occurrence in the middle of summer. It is not uncommon for local residents to leave the region during the peak summer months.

There were no sheep exports to Jordan in February, as limited spending power and imports from Romania have challenged shipments from Australia. This is compounded by a very flat economy.  Exports to Oman totalled 6,000 head in February. A renewed focus on improving food security in the region is likely to see exports increase over the next 12-18 months.

Exports to Malaysia in February were relatively high, totalling 6,555 head. These numbers were heightened by a sea consignment (4,500 head) delivered with a cattle shipment.

Back to News

Join myMLA today

One username and password for key integrity and information Systems (LPA/NVD, NLIS, MSA & LDL).

A personalised online dashboard that provides news, weather, events and R&D tools relevant to you.

Customised market information and analysis.

Learn more about myMLA

myMLA Sign Up

Already registered for myMLA?

Sign in here