LIVE cattle exporters to Indonesia may have to wait up to a month before they can start booking vessels to ship cattle to the country.
As a result of Indonesia's live cattle import quota being cut from 520,000 to 280,000 in December last year, permits were only given for 60,000 head of cattle for the first quarter and that has already been filled.
This means exporters may need to wait until the end of March before they find out how many cattle they can ship for the next quarter.
Wellard Rural Export managing director Steve Meerwald said from his understanding about 46,000 head had been exported to Indonesia, with another 1800 due to go soon and about 21,000 permits in the system which are in the process for approval.
"That will take it up to about 68,000 head of cattle for the quarter," Mr Meerwald said.
"That is more than the permits which were issued but I think that includes breeding cattle as well.
"But they are all in the system now and we are halfway through February and well over half have already been shipped so there will be a bit of a slow down next month."
Mr Meerwald told Farm Weekly he expected the next quarter permits to be announced soon but there were no guarantees as to when it would happen.
He hoped the permits for the next quarter would be up on the 60,000 in the first quarter.
"We only have it anecdotally but due to the pressures in the market in Indonesia with a reasonably substantial increase in red meat price the feedback we are getting from some sources in Indonesia is that there is some hope that the quota will be increased in the second quarter," he said.
"But nobody knows the quantity yet.
"There is an expectation that there will be more export permits released in the second quarter than in the first.
"The importers are telling us that there is an expectation and we can only work with what the permits are."
Mr Meerwald said an increase in permits in the next quarter would be good timing for northern pastoralists as they came out of the wet season.
"We are not absolutely clear on when the announcement will be made or when permits will be issued," he said.
"There is also an expectation that it may be a little bit more fluid than it has been in the past, which will allow a smoother transition from quarter one to quarter two."