CATTLE exports from Fremantle have dropped 16 per cent to 68,965 year to date compared with 2018 figures, according to Meat and Livestock Australia and LiveCorp's Australian Livestock Exports Monthly Trade Summary for June 2019.
Livestock exporters put the decline down to fewer numbers of vessels operating out of Fremantle due to the uncertainty caused by changes in the live sheep trade, especially since the three month moratorium from June until the end of August, took affect.
Exports from the port of Broome may have also played a part in that decline at Fremantle, due to a 131pc rise in cattle exports year-to-date compared to 2018, amounting to 63,094 head.
In the past 12 months Fremantle saw 131,696 head of cattle pass through, down 11pc overall, while Broome saw 121,141 head to see a rise of 33pc.
Fremantle exported 5173 cattle in June (a 56pc decrease from May figures), while Broome saw 19,047 pass through its port (a 71pc increase on May).
The port of Wyndham also saw 5377 feeder cattle and 164 buffalo exported to Indonesia in June.
A total of 263 head of breeders were also air-freighted from Perth to Japan.
The MLA/LiveCorp data shows that a total of 1.179 million head were exported from Australia in the past 12 months to June 30 - a 23pc increase on 2018 figures.
LiveCorp said the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported 1,138,124 head of cattle were exported during the 2018 calendar year at a value of $1.458 billion free on board (FOB).
"This year to April (as far as LiveCorp have ABS data for 2019) is reported as 367,021 head exported for a value of $502,165,055 FOB," a LiveCorp spokesperson said.
The increase in exports for this year has been put down to demand for quality Australian beef, as well as due to the impact of drought and floods experienced across Queensland and the Northern Territory and the dry conditions that have been experienced across the top end of Western Australia.
Indonesia and Vietnam were Australia's two largest markets year to date with 290,765 head of mainly feeder cattle going to Indonesia and 112,284 mainly slaughter cattle sent to Vietnam.
China rounded out the top three markets with 63,255 head of mainly breeder cattle year to date, followed by Israel which received 44,634 feeder cattle (a 113pc increase compared with 2018).
Indonesia is Australia's largest feeder cattle market and in June it took 45,267 head.
Vietnam is the largest slaughter cattle market taking 24,306 head in June, while China is the largest breeder market with 9205 head exported there in June.
All up cattle exports are up on 2018 by 19pc with a total of 577,456 head being sent to foreign markets year to date.
The majority of the 90,916 cattle exported in June came out of Townsville and Darwin, with Broome coming in as the third busiest port for the trade.
Due to the live sheep moratorium the only exports of sheep in June were 3520 head out of Adelaide via air freight to Malaysia.
While total sheep exports have fallen 12pc on 2018 year to date, to 703,690, the markets in Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Israel still appear strong with increases in all markets recorded.
The impact of the moratorium on the trade will see a reduced number exported, unless exporters can clock up a few runs from September-December.
Last year saw a reduction of about 780,000 sheep exported compared with 2016 and 2017 figures at 1,105,740 head in total, which could be directly attributed to the political disruption to the trade, as well as reduced stocking densities of 15pc or more.