Why do we export live cattle to South East Asia?

South-East Asia is one of Australia’s closest trading partners, being home to over 640 million people. South-East Asians generally do not have sufficient land and knowledge to have large scale breeding operations like Northern Australia. These countries also have large amounts of agricultural by-products (like pineapple husk for example) that they can feed to the livestock relatively inexpensively as humans do not consume them.

Animals are processed late at night/early hours of the morning and sold fresh and hot (never refrigerated) in the market early in the morning. Tradition and culture lead to a huge emphasis on fresh ‘hot’ meat as a preference.

The cattle bred in Northern Australia are the preference by our South East Asian customers as they are similar to their local cattle. They are heat resistant (due to similar climates), disease-free, and have low amounts of fat (Asian customers don’t like fat in their meat). Australians eat a different species of cattle that put a large emphasis on fattier and tender meat which are bred in the cooler climates of Southern Australia.

Live exports to South East Asia provides an alternate market for Australian producers – especially in times of drought and flood to off-take large amounts of cattle in single sweeps when processors are full.