THE live export industry is a shining light in the currently depressed livestock market.
Export companies are at capacity while they get ready to take delivery of several hundred thousand long tail lambs which will leave WA in the middle of this month for the Middle East and the Hajj religious festival.
Cattle exports are also flourishing with a group of exporters compiling the biggest shipment to ever leave Australian shores last week.
Wellard Rural Exports managing director Steve Meerwald said the shipment, comprising 22,000 head, left Darwin for Indonesia.
“Cattle were sourced from across the Top End for the shipment and there is good demand at the moment for cattle despite the exchange rate,” Mr Meerwald said.
He said Indonesian lotfeeders’ demands and shipping spaces were at a premium, so larger loads were be sent when there was an opportunity to transport livestock.
“It is very difficult to get ships at the moment because of the global demand and so to fulfil the Indonesian requirements we had to send over more numbers to keep them going,” he said.
Mr Meerwald said the company was also finalising a shipment of 11,000 dairy heifers to Mexico, believed to be a record-sized export.
“That ship is due to leave Portland this week and it is pleasing to see our increased emphasis on forward contracts for these heifers is being taken up,” he said.
Producers who took out long tail contracts would also be very happy at the moment, particularly given the decrease in lamb prices in saleyards recently.
Mr Meerwald said this year the value of forward contracting as a risk management tool by producers is showing through.
“It won’t always be that way, but these contracts still provide growers with some certainty.
“The process from delivery through to selling them at other end is a lot more complicated this year due to the exchange rate, but those contracts will be delivered and shipped.
“The long tail story does represent a very bright light for producers at the moment on the livestock front.
“We have lost a few out of the north, but there is not a lot that can be done about that.”