ABC Rural

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The Indonesian Government has released permits to import 200,000 head of feeder cattle from Australia over the next three months, providing a huge boost to northern Australia’s live cattle trade.

New Trade Minister Thomas Lambong has acted on a recommendation from the nation’s Ministry of Agriculture, to drastically increase the number of import permits in Q4 compared to what was allocated in the third quarter (Q3).

Ships are due to leave Darwin Port “within the next week” and some exporters have locked in feeder steers for over $3 a kilogram.

Tracey Hayes from the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association says it is a record price for the live cattle trade out of Darwin.

“As far as I’m aware the $3/kg mark hasn’t [been reached before], and I understand there’s even $3.05/kg on the table at the moment,” she told ABC Rural.

“And I don’t think that’s the end of the price rise. So if you’re a cattle producer at the moment and have some animals in the paddock ready to go, then you’re well placed.”

Ms Hayes said there are plenty of cattle on the floodplains near Darwin “ready to go”, but finding 200,000 head over three months will be a challenge.

“The information coming through the membership is that 100,000 head thereabouts will be achievable, but from then on it will become more difficult to source cattle from the region, but time will tell.”

Ms Hayes will travel to Jakarta next week to continue discussions on reinstating the system of issuing permits on an annual basis.

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