Wyn­d­ham ships first cat­tle for sea­son

Pilbara News - - News - Rueben Hale

A shipload of cat­tle out of Wyn­d­ham Port has marked the start of the live ex­port sea­son.

The port in far north WA has loaded its first cat­tle ship of the year, with about 3500 head set­ting sail for In­done­sia last week.

The ship­ment co­in­cided with the start of muster through­out the north af­ter a pro­longed wet sea­son slowed cat­tle sup­ply to all but a trickle in re­cent months.

The pro­duc­ers are pre­par­ing to turn off breed­ers, bulls and steers, which they hope will fetch them con­tin­ued buoy­ant prices as live ex­porters com­pete to se­cure num­bers for April ex­port con­tracts.

In the week be­gin­ning April 16, fran­tic com­pe­ti­tion be­tween live ex­porters pushed the price to $3.50/kg in Dar­win, but the mar­ket soft­ened last week as sup­ply be­came more plen­ti­ful at sa­le­yards in WA and the North­ern Ter­ri­tory.

Live ex­porter Aus­trex con­tracted the Dutch-owned car­rier Bi­son Ex­press for the ship­ment, af­ter truck­ing the cat­tle in from its hold­ing yards in nearby Ku­nunurra.

Wyn­d­ham Port man­ager Steve For­rest said he hoped the con­sign­ment would be the start of a busier sea­son for the port than pre­vi­ous years.

“We’ve been very keen to get some num­bers through the yards be­fore the end of the fi­nan­cial year,” he said.

“In­clud­ing this lat­est ship­ment, we’re an­tic­i­pat­ing a very bad year for the port, with only about 9000 head for the fi­nan­cial year, which is a far cry from the port’s hey­day where we were do­ing 80,000.”

Mt Mag­net pas­toral­ist Ash­ley Dow­den, from Challa Sta­tion, fin­ished mus­ter­ing this week.

Fly­ing his plane along­side a mo­tor­bike and buggy crew, the fifth-gen­er­a­tion pas­toral­ist spent the past fort­night round­ing up cat­tle at his and a neigh­bour’s prop­erty.

Mr Dow­den said he hoped the mar­ket would re­main buoy­ant as he in­creased his turn-off year on year.

Pic­ture: Rueben Hale

Rhys, front, and Con­nor Jones from Boog­a­rdie Sta­tion, helped muster.

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