As the market for cattle continues to grow, it is expected that supply will not be able to keep up with demand. There is potential therefore to increase the carrying capacity and turnoff in selected areas, commensurate with market growth.
The export of live cattle is a significant earner in the Darwin-Kakadu region
Of great significance to the region is its proximity to the major live export port of northern Australia, Darwin. This is important for a number of reasons. While the majority of cattle producers in the region already turn off stock to this market, there is much scope to increase both the proportion of stock and the total numbers. Given that around 20 per cent of cattle shipped out of Darwin Harbour have travelled from Queensland, there is obvious scope for producers in the region to increase output.
In addition there is the opportunity for Top End producers in the region to establish depots, or agistment, for cattle which have been brought from other parts of the Northern Territory and other states. These holding bays would allow the cattle time and space to acclimatise and to be prepared or fattened to market specifications.
Buyers of live export cattle have very particular standards which require different and more intensive management strategies on the ground. The traditional open range style of grazing does not produce cattle of desired weight or temperament for overseas buyers. To take advantage of this market then, producers will have to intensify via introduced pasture species and cropping, or agist their cattle.