July 1, 2022
Indonesia cattle FMD outbreak nearly stops northern Australia's live export trade
The foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in Indonesia has nearly stopped the live export trade from northern Australia and completely disrupted the country's food supply system, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
According to the Australian Department of Agriculture, FMD has spread to more than 200,000 cases across 19 provinces despite Indonesia's national vaccination programme.
Dick Slaney is employed by Greenfields, Indonesia's largest dairy company, which milks about 8,000 cows in Java.
He claimed that local markets were in "chaos" due to FMD.
Slaney said between 30 and 50 percent less milk is being produced overall in the Java region.
Small farmers are selling a lot of cattle on the market, either because their animals are ill or because they are scared of the disease and want to get rid of them before FMD spreads.
Slaney said cattle prices had halved in the last two months in some domestic markets.
As general manager of the Argyle Cattle Company and Yougawalla Pastoral Company, Haydn Sale is responsible for managing eight cattle stations throughout the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
Sale said that shipments of live cattle had effectively ceased during the months that are typically the busiest for the trade because importers were hesitant to purchase pricey Australian cattle in such unsteady economic conditions.
He said contracts have been cancelled, and they haven't made any deliveries to that market in probably close to four weeks.
Live cattle exports have decreased over the past few weeks, according to data from the Darwin Port and the Broome Port.
In June, about 17,000 head of cattle were exported from Darwin, a decrease from nearly 30,000 in June 2021.
Just 11,500 head were exported from Broome in June, compared to 25,000 during the same month last year.
Meat and Livestock Australia's (MLA) new Live Export Price Indicator is no longer being updated, which is another indication that business is slowing down.
The MLA said in a statement that the Live Export Price Indicator will now report on an ad-hoc basis until Indonesian feeder cattle volumes recover to levels that enable the calculation of reliable price summaries due to subdued trade activity and significantly reduced throughput.
The MLA said Australia's live cattle exports will fall by 33% this year, from 772,000 to 500,000 head.
Slaney said the decrease in Australian cattle exports will take time to affect Indonesia.
He hoped that the rollout of the vaccine would be successful and will stabilise the situation there.
- The Australia Broadcasting Cooperation