09/02/2010 - 14:36

WA leads nation in livestock exports

09/02/2010 - 14:36

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Western Australian livestock made up almost 50 per cent of the country's export earnings in 2009 which reached a total of $996.5 million, the strongest returns in seven years according to national livestock industry groups.

WA leads nation in livestock exports

Western Australian livestock made up almost 50 per cent of the country's export earnings in 2009 which reached a total of $996.5 million, the strongest returns in seven years according to national livestock industry groups.

Meat and Livestock Australia and LiveCorp said WA's overall value of cattle, sheep and goat exports last year passed $458 million, about 46 per cent of the national total.

With cattle exports to Indonesia at a record high the number of live cattle exported from Australia increased by almost 10 per cent last year, contributing a record $662 million to the national economy, based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Exports of cattle from WA were valued at more than $218 million with total volume eclipsing 350,000 head.

Australia exported 948,240 cattle last year, an increase of 80,000 from the 868,510 head exported in 2008.

Goat exports also experienced significant growth in 2009, with a 22 per cent increase totaling 97,621 goats and a value of $11.5 million, of which WA contributed more than $1.5 million and 13,000 goats.

While the volume of sheep exports softened by 15 per cent to 3.5 million head in 2009, the value remained stable at $323 million, reflecting stronger sheep prices for the year for Australian sheep producers.

Sheep from WA generated almost $240 million in export earnings on the back of 2.5 million sheep leaving our shores.

MLA Livestock Exports Manager Michael Finucan said it is encouraging to see that demand for high quality, healthy and disease-free Australian livestock remained strong in 2009 while many other industries' revenues decreased significantly as a result of the global financial crisis.

"The volume of live cattle exported from Australia last year was at its highest level since 2002," Mr Finucan said.

"Indonesia remains Australia's largest market for cattle, primarily from northern Australia, with the 768,133 cattle exported there last year representing 81 per cent of total export numbers.

"We also saw 59,000 head of high quality breeding dairy cattle exported in 2009, with 55 per cent of these going to China to support the ongoing development of its dairy heard."

Kuwait was again the largest market for Australian sheep in 2009, with the 950,000 sheep exported there representing 26 per cent of total exports.

Bahrain was the second largest market, taking 747,000 head.

Malaysia remained the major destination market for Australian goats, with a market share of 91 per cent.

Mr Finucan said in addition to the strong export volumes and value, delivery rates remained high with over 99% of all Australian livestock delivered fit and healthy at their destinations after being well cared for during the journey.

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