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Flooded Top End slowing cattle trade

Matt Brann, Wednesday February 5, 2014 - 14:25 EDT
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East Alligator river in flood. Arnhem Land, NT. - ABC

Monsoonal rains across the Top End of the Northern Territory have cut road access to a number of cattle stations, which is reflected in the lack of numbers exported out of Darwin in January.

Just 13,337 cattle were exported from the port of Darwin last month, which is 56,110 less than December and 15,609 less than January last year.

Agent Peter Kelly says accessing cattle from the Top End is currently a challenge and the live export trade out of Townsville is where most of the action is right now.

"The main reason (for the lower export numbers out of Darwin) is we've had such a good start to the wet season in the Top End," he said.

"In January last year, it was a lot drier, so there was a lot more access to cattle.

"Shipping is mostly going out of Townsville at the moment, because Queensland is in a dry situation, so boats have been pulling cattle out of there."

Mr Kelly says the export ships which have left Darwin this year have also been relying on cattle from Queensland.

"Quite a few of the cattle have been coming in via Cloncurry and Mt Isa, but also from portions of the Territory that have access to the bitumen."


© ABC 2014

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