Top Paddock – April 2019

Issue #67 – April 2019
Message from the editor

This year is jam packed with events. We have a huge couple of days lined up for those of you in the Douglas Daly and Katherine regions with field days in April, as well as some new faces around the department.

I recently spent some time working in the Department of Primary Industry and Resources (DPIR) animal welfare response centre for Tropical Cyclone Trevor. They had volunteers and assistance from the NT Cattlemen’s Association, private veterinarians, Roper Gulf Regional Council, East Arnhem Regional Council, and Animal Management in Regional and Remote Indigenous Communities. There was a lot of hard work put in behind the scenes that many people aren’t aware of. A lot of people gave up their weekend to support the teams that went out to communities to check and feed animals in the evacuated regions. It was great to see everyone banding together to help out.



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Have your say on Northern Territory water regulatory reform


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have proposed reforms to the Water Regulation in a Directions Paper.


Darwin Rural Groundwater Watch


In the Top End, most rural residents and growers access groundwater via a bore. In fact, in the Northern Territory (NT) 90 per cent of the fresh water supply comes from groundwater, compared to 22 per cent worldwide.


NT seasonal outlook

Sky, clouds and palm trees

The outlook for April to June 2019 indicates that:

  • Average to Drier conditions are expected across most of the NT.
  • Warmer than average days and nights are likely for almost all of the NT.

Northern Territory goes bananas!

Bunch of green bananas

Northern Territory has been declared banana freckle free, with the proof of freedom from the disease declared on 1 February.

This huge success has been achieved due to industry, government and the community working together, along with other states and territories.


Katherine and Douglas Daly Field Days

The department is hosting two agricultural field days at Katherine Research Station on Tuesday 9 April 2019 and Douglas Daly Research Farm on Wednesday 10 April 2019.
Riverine Buffalo for sale - priced from $1000 inc G S T call Anthony Green 0427 002 804

NT Rural Women’s Award

DPIR Asian honey bee surveillance officers.

Zoe Malone has been announced as the winner of this year’s Agrifutures NT Rural Women’s Award, for her passion about the role volunteers play in creating strong and vibrant communities.


TNRM natural process erosion control course


Territory Natural Resource Management (TNRM) has partnered with RegenAG’s erosion mitigation expert Craig Sponholtz of Watershed Artisans to deliver a three-day intensive natural process erosion control course.


Introducing new staff

Joy sherlock stands in a field of cotton

There are a number of new staff across the department. Introducing Joy Sherlock, Samantha Cullen, Maxine Piggott and Simone Andrews.


A step closer to understanding mango disorder

two mangoes with discolouration

Scientists in the Northern Territory have made a significant advance towards understanding the cause of resin canal discolouration (RCD) in mangoes. RCD had stumped scientists and growers for decades, who until now had not had any clues about its cause.


You have heard of ant farms, but have you heard of farmer ants?

ant can be seen on the leaf of a plant

Browsing ants (Lepisiota frauenfeldi) are an exotic invasive species, ideally suited to Australian conditions. Browsing ants are considered to be a significant threat to our environment and economy. They form super-colonies, which reach very large numbers.


Asparagus – potential green gold for the Northern Territory

Asparagus is not a new crop for the Northern Territory, with commercial production in place since the mid-1990s. Production has declined in the Northern Territory due a range of factors including: the inability to control anthracnose (a fungal pathogen), currency fluctuations and historically high interest rates.

Fusarium wilt of cucumber

fusarium wilt can be seen on a cucumber plant with wilted leaves

Fusarium wilt of cucumber is caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f.sp cucumerinum. It has been present in Australia for decades, but the first case in the Northern Territory was discovered in 2017.


Animal Health News

cow and calves

The March edition of Animal Health News, including livestock disease investigations is now available.

Read Animal Health News >>

2018 audit of NT brands register

2018 audit paperwork has been sent out to registered owner/s of Northern Territory (NT) Brands, to the last known address listed in the NT Brands register.
Read full article >>

Want to find out more information?

Food Futures

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You can find hundreds of publications on our website.


Contact the Livestock Biosecurity Team


Regional Livestock Bisoecurity Officer 08 8999 2034
Livestock Biosecurity Officer 08 8999 2030


Regional Livestock Biosecurity Officer 08 8973 9767
Livestock Biosecurity Officer 08 8973 9765

Tennant Creek

Principal Livestock Biosecurity Officer 08 8962 4458
Livestock Biosecurity Officer 08 8962 4492

Alice Springs

Senior Field Veterinary Officer 08 8951 8181
Regional Livestock Biosecurity Officer 08 8951 8125

Calendar of Events

KRS field day Tuesday 9 March
Douglas Daly field day Wednesday 10 March
AMIA Mango Conference 14-17 May (Darwin)
Australian Banana Industry Congress 21 May (Gold Coast)
Horticulture Connections 2019 June 23 (Melbourne)
Darwin Show 25- 27 July 2019

Department of Primary Industry and Resources

GPO BOX 3000, DARWIN NT 0801 | PHONE: 08 8999 2214 | ISSN 1320-727X

This email was sent by Communications, Department of Primary Industry and Resources, GPO Box 3000, DARWIN, Northern Territory 0801, Email: communications.dpir to adamgcbody



New post February Market Report : S.E. Asian Beef Industry

Dr. Ross posted: "63rd Edition : February 2019. Key Points October imports still having strong negative impact on Indonesian market. The Philippines slaughter cattle prices continue their meteoric rise. Northern Territory feeder prices collapse as wet season fails. "

Respond to this post by replying above this line

New post on Southeast Asian Beef Market Report

February Market Report : S.E. Asian Beef Industry

by Dr. Ross

63rd Edition : February 2019.

Key Points

· October imports still having strong negative impact on Indonesian market.

· The Philippines slaughter cattle prices continue their meteoric rise.

· Northern Territory feeder prices collapse as wet season fails.

Asian Slaughter Feb 2019

Indonesia : Slaughter Steers AUD $3.90/kg live weight (Rp10,000 = $1AUD)

Overweight cattle from October 2018 imports continue to push the market lower as buyers resist low yielding slaughter animals and importers reduce their rates even further to encourage sales. The indicator rate for February is Rp39,000 down Rp500 from last month. A further frustrating consequence of this slow output is that imports from subsequent months are now stuck in the que behind the remaining October cattle with November imports (46,000) likely to also trending overweight by the time they finally reach the abattoir. Forecasts for March suggest prices will move even lower although this is likely to represent the bottom of the cycle as the October imports should have all been slaughtered by the end of this month.

Official import numbers are now available for January with a little over 40,000 entering the feedlots. Unofficial figures for February indicate that despite the major disruption associated with the Townsville and western Queensland flooding, total imports for February are likely to be close to 40,000. This relatively high number, considering the difficult weather conditions is good news for importers and Indonesian consumers as these cattle will form the basis of the feedlot output for the peak demand period of Ramadan and Lebaran (4th May – 10th June). Given that imports during March onwards will be leaving the feedlots during the traditionally low demand post-Lebaran period, it seems likely that importers will keep their monthly volumes in the 30,000 to 45,000 range as the memory of excessive monthly imports last year are still fresh in their minds.

The signing of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (I-A CEPA) on the 4th of March is generally good news for the future of the industry with the elimination of the 5% tariff most welcome. Unfortunately, importers businesses are so far into the red that a 5% life-line probably doesn’t appear a lot to cheer about knowing that sale prices are fixed by the government.

As of the 8th of March, the rates for feeder steers delivered Darwin had crashed to around AUD$3 per kg live weight, representing a greater than 10% fall during late February as a direct result of the failure of the Northern Territory wet season. In the short term, the northern Australian cattle industry is in very bad shape with massive losses of cattle and infrastructure from the north Queensland floods now combined with the Northern Territory staring at a possible annual wet season failure for the majority of the cattle breeding areas. Feeder cattle are already being presented to the market in large numbers at cheap rates with buyers hard to find at any price. Industry observers suggest that the current situation represents the worst wide spread seasonal failure in living memory.

Photo 1_Feb 2019

Photo : I was late (11am) visiting this market in Yogyakarta earlier in February so there were only a few stalls still open. Prices were the same as elsewhere in Indonesia, Rp130,000 for the best cuts, Rp110,000 for lesser cuts and Rp60,000 for skin including the face.

Photo 2_Feb 2019

Photo : Hind quarter beef at the Pasar Modern wet market in BSD City, Jakarta, Rp130,000 per kg.

Photo 3_Feb 2019

Photo : knuckle (centre) in Giant Supermarket in BSD City, Jakarta, Rp199,000 per kg or AUD$20.

Vietnam : Slaughter Steers AUD $4.36 / kg (VND16,500 to $1AUD)

Prices remain firm despite the end of the Tet festival with feedlots back down to about 70% capacity. 500kg Steers in the south are bringing Dong 68-70,000 while similar cattle in the north attract D71-76,000. Bulls in the south are D73 to 74,000 while those in the north bring D73-76,000. I have kept the indicator rate steady at Dong72,000. ASF has recently been officially reported in a number of sites in Vietnam. This disease has the potential to create havoc in the local pig production industry as it has already done in neighbouring China.

Photo 4_Feb 2019

Photo : sorry about the quality of this photo but I thought the content was very interesting. This Vinmart, Ho Chi Minh City Supermarket product, slaughtered by Vissan, is labelled with “theo tieu chuan ESCAS” which translates to “according to the ESCAS standard”, something I have never seen on a label before. The knuckle on the left is selling for Dong302,000 or AUD$18.30 per kg.

Vietnamese are very strong on internet beef sales and certainly make an impressive presentation with lots of discounts to attract buyers.

Photo 5_Feb 2019

Photo from the internet : Knuckle selling at discount prices on the internet – Dong 270,000 per kg. See one of the many websites below.

China : Slaughter Cattle AUD $5.56 / kg (RMB 4.80 = AUD$)

Slaughter rates in RMB remain relatively stable with currency fluctuations creating the majority of the AUD price increase noted above. African Swine Fever (AFS) continues to be a huge factor in the Chinese red meat industry with the full impact yet to be reflected in the pig supply chain.

The graph presented by Rabobank below shows how unofficial import volumes have remained fairly static over the last 4 years while tonnage of official imports has risen sharply. Despite the total volume of imported product rising 400% from about 500,000 tons in 2012/13 tons to 2 million tons in 2018/19, the price of live slaughter cattle continues its steady climb. See slaughter price graph at the top of this report showing how steer prices have been rising strongly in the face of these massive increases in processed beef imports. My interpretation is that this is demonstrating that fresh, locally slaughtered beef is still an entirely separate market segment with its price driven by supply and demand of locally available slaughter cattle rather than the competition presented by imported processed beef. With local cattle production static, live imports severely restricted (by health protocol issues) and consumer demand constantly rising, live slaughter cattle prices are likely to continue to increase.

In the face of rising beef prices, the Chinese government first move was to allow official imports to begin with Australian and other suppliers commencing imports in 2013. Other import sources were then permitted including Europe, USA and South America. Despite the reports of government crackdown on grey channel imports it appears from the graph below that volumes remain at more than 600,000 tons. After beef imports increased from virtually nil to more than 2 million tons over the last 10 years, Chinese beef prices remain amongst the highest in the world. Check the prices for wet and supermarket beef in the table attached to this report. What is their next move? Relax restrictions on live slaughter cattle imports? 1 million live slaughter cattle imports would only represent an approximate equivalent of 200,000 tons of processed product, less than 10% of current beef imports.

Photo 6_Feb 2019

Philippines : Slaughter Cattle AUD $4.60 / kg (Peso 37.0 to AUD$1)

Local slaughter cattle prices have risen again this month from Peso 165 to Peso 170 per kg live weight. This rise combined with the strengthening Peso against the AUD has rocketed the AUD price to $4.60, second only to China. This phenomenal rise only began in late 2017 when the Philippines was consistently the lowest price in the region at less than $3 per kg. My agent reports that this is a simple matter of a shortage of supply from the domestic herd combined with strengthening demand from consumers enjoying solid economic growth combined with general social and political stability not seen in the Philippines from a very long time.

Thailand : Slaughter Steers AUD $4.38 / kg (Baht 22.4 to $1AUD)

Prices have risen sharply for both bulls and steers this month. Bulls are now 100Baht while Steers are selling for 96Baht per kg live weight. I have used 98 Baht as the indicator price for this month, up from 92 last month.

Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for Chinese tourists which is great for their economy on the one hand but presents a huge risk factor in the context of African Swine Fever.

Between 21st January and the 3rd February, the Australian government conducted a trial on pork products that were seized or declared by incoming passengers at Sydney and Melbourne airports and mail arriving through the Sydney and Melbourne mail depots.

Of 162 seizures, 283 samples were tested for ASF with 40 samples positive for ASF virus fragments. Even more frightening, two samples were also positive for Foot and Mouth Disease virus.

If this is the situation in Australia, imagine how much infected product is entering China’s next door neighbours via their tourists and business travellers not to mention cross border smuggling which is a popular local pastime.

George Black is back in Ethiopia.

Photo 7_Feb 2019

Photo from George Black : Boran Bull in a northern Ethiopian feedlot.

Photo 8_Feb 2019

Photo from George : Boran quarters in the chiller

Photo 9_Feb 2019

Photo from George : Cattle and goat butcher shop in Ethiopia.


These figures are converted to AUD$ from their respective currencies which are changing every day so the actual prices here are corrupted slightly by constant foreign exchange fluctuations. The AUD$ figures presented below should be regarded as reliable trends rather than exact individual prices. Where possible the meat cut used for pricing in the wet and supermarket is Knuckle / Round.

February 19 price table

Dr. Ross | March 13, 2019 at 8:47 am | Tags: beef prices, market report, southeast asia | Categories: Monthly Market Report | URL:

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Pastoral Market Update – January 2019

January 2019

Dear subscriber

The Pastoral Market Update (PMU) is a document published monthly by the Department of Primary Industry and Resources to provide information on livestock exports from the Port of Darwin and interstate cattle movements.

Historical records for previous exports are available from the department’s website.

PMU January 2019
Department of Primary Industry and Resources
GPO Box 3000, DARWIN NT 0801
This email was sent by Department of Primary Industry and Resources, Department of Primary Industry and Resources, GPO Box 3000, DARWIN, Northern Territory 0801, Email: PMU to adambody


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