Which is it?

Livestock | 14th June 2023 | By Matt Dalgleish

Live Cattle Export Summary - May 2023

An initial glance at the live export data reported by DAFF for May 2023 shows a huge lift in the trade to over 108,000 head. However, on closer examination it looks like there are many duplications so the headline total figure for cattle flows over the month are quite a bit overstated.

This isn’t the first time this year that the data was a little out or delayed. Last month the volumes to Indonesia were a little softer as some late shipments had not been accounted for when the initial data was updated and when our report from last month went out (this report has the April figures to Indonesia updated). It’s not uncommon for additional data to flow through as DAFF become aware of late shipments.

Removing the data duplications we have calculated the total May 2023 live cattle flows to be 62,735 head, which is a 13% lift on the 55,611 head transported over April. Despite a good gain over the month current cattle export volumes remain 52% under the normal flows you could expect for May based on the average calculation (circa 95,000 head) for the last five years of trade.

A summary of the key destinations for Australian live cattle shows:

  • Indonesia saw a 28% lift in volumes over May, from 26,926 head to 34,446 head. This places flows to Indonesia around 24% below the five-year average trend for May.
  • Vietnam saw a moderate gain of 10% over the month to see live cattle exports reach 10,511 head. While this is the best performing month so far in 2023 these levels remain 48% under the five-year average flows seen during May.
  • China mostly trekked sideways in May, with a slightly weaker bias. Volumes slipped by around 2% to see 6,981 head of cattle transported from Australia. Like Vietnam, this represent flows that are around half of what would normally be seen in May, based on the five-year average pattern.


  • Live cattle
  • Live export
  • Cattle
  • Trade
  • Exports