THE live export season kicked off for Pilbara pastoralists after a late mustering delayed cattle deliveries to exporters.
The Hedland Export Depot received its first consignment for the season a fortnight ago of 2600 head of cattle for live export company Austrex, which were destined for Indonesia.
Depot manager Paul Brown said considering the season the Pilbara pastoralists who supplied the cattle had done a "fantastic job in preparing" them for the journey.
His depot was at full capacity with the cattle in the yards, which he had on a mixed diet of silage and pellets.
"The cattle were in good condition," Mr Brown said.
"There's a lot of cattle coming off mustering now and we hope to be able to have another shipment soon."
Mr Brown said they had been hoping for an early start to the season because of the conditions last year but it didn't eventuate after some good rains in the wet season.
He said there was an export order out for more cattle and he had some in the yards on feed as an exporter accumulated numbers for another shipment.
"There's a good number of cattle coming off the stations at the moment," Mr Brown said.
"We are just waiting for the next shipment."
Mr Brown said he was optimistic of another one or two shipments this year but "three to four would be great".
He has been feedlotting cattle for pastoralists while waiting for the export season to get going.
Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen's Association chief executive officer Emma White said it was "good to see the first shipment out of Hedland for the year".
"It will be interesting to see if it's the first of more to come," Ms White said.
"2019 was a near record for live exports out of Broome due to dry seasonal conditions and increased turn off.
"2020 is more comparable to 2018 at this stage in terms of live export numbers out of Broome.
"Prices are holding up in key markets at this stage but there is reduced turn off across Northern Australia due to the legacy of dry seasonal conditions and northern Queensland floods."