DEMAND for live cattle in Australia's largest market, Indonesia, shows no indication of easing and the strength of the trade across the board is clearly spelled out in the latest industry figures which show 19 per cent growth last year.
Close to 1.3m head were transported in 2019, with feeder numbers reaching 847,000, up 14pc on 2018, according to the LiveLink monthly trade summary, released this week.
It's the second highest volume of live-ex cattle in the past 15 years, surpassed only by 2015 when just over 1.3m went.
Indonesia accounted for 676,000 head, the vast majority feeders.
Since the first shipment of Brazilian beef to Indonesia late last year, there does not seem to be any impact on live cattle demand.
Analysts said it was too small a volume to be impacting price or displacing any product and should be considered more a test shipment.
Meat & Livestock Australia last year reported preliminary modelling by the Centre for International Economics had concluded the entry of Brazilian beef would have a modest impact upon Australian cattle and beef shipments.
Most analysts agree live exports to Indonesia will continue to grow in the long term, as Indonesia increasingly requires imports to feed growing consumption needs.
Australia's tight cattle supply in 2020 will no doubt affect volumes, however peak industry group the Australian Livestock Exporters Council says all indications were demand could be met in the short to medium-term.
Breeder exports to China were another stand-out in the latest trade figures, showing 78pc year-on-year growth to reach 140,000 head.
Experts said that demand was likely influenced by dairy market dynamics and Chinese government policy, rather than any switch from meat to dairy protein driven by African Swine Fever.
MLA analysts reported shipments of slaughter cattle lifted 17pc year-on-year, an increase of 41,000 head, primarily driven by growth to Vietnam.
Israel took 78,000 head of feeder cattle, a year-on-year jump of 29pc; the Philippines took over 15,000 head of feeders plus some breeders to lift its purchases by 46pc and Japan also remained a decent customer taking 18,000 head of mostly feeders.