THE latest shipment of 2900 cattle to Indonesia from Port Hedland last week included about 500 breeder heifers, Landmark Port Hedland livestock agent Daniel Wood confirmed.
The Santa Gertrudis and Droughtmaster heifers went to Indonesia as part of the country’s herd-building program.
Mr Wood said the weather had been mild so far in the north and the condition of the cattle was “pretty good for this time of year”.
Landmark’s western sales report showed sales to Indonesia of medium steers weighing 270 kilograms to 350kg, selling for $3/kg.
Heavy steers of 351-450 kg sold for $2.70/kg, and medium weight heifers 270-370 kg sold for $2.60/kg.
Port Hedland Export Depot owner Paul Brown said all the cattle arrived a week ago to prepare them for shipment and ensure they passed strict protocols, especially for breeder stock.
Primaries live export cattle manager Bibra Lake Simon Green said about 20-30 per cent of all cattle stock on boats were heifers – although not all were breeders.
In 2016 the Indonesian government put in place a ‘one breeder for five feeder’ policy – which put pressure on cattle importers to ensure they were working to build the Indonesian herd and assist in gaining a level of self sufficiency.
The two-year final performance review of the breeder program is due in early 2018.
The Meat and Livestock Australia live export South East Asia report by Dr Ross Ainsworth said about 90pc of importers were expected to fail the requirements of the one-to-five program.
Mr Ainsworth said importers were forced to sign up to the agreement before they would be issued with an import licence.
He said Indonesian importers had their backs to the wall and many would struggle to stay in business.
Since the introduction of Indian buffalo into Indonesia in September 2016, the demand for slaughter cattle imports from Australia have stabilised at 50pc pre-buffalo import levels.
In September they dropped further to 40pc pre buffalo import levels.
The Indonesian government was trying to reach a target of two million breeder cattle by 2018 but that may not happen unless a last minute rush occurs.
Mr Green said the export season in the north was coming to an end and exporters would be looking to the South West for cattle to fill the orders.
A live cattle shipment was due to embark from Fremantle Port in November, if everything falls into place.