Thursday, August 08, 2013

Indonesian Cattle Herd Declines - NOT Increases

At the middle of the dispute over importing cattle and beef into Indonesia is the tenet that the herd was increasing and would be sufficient to meet domestic demand by 2014.

While many had views this was possibly not correct there has now emerged more recent 2013 herd statistics that seem to clearly show a rather large decline over a few years of several million head.  There are also reports that breeder cows are also being slaughtered in considerable numbers.  Hardly the path way to a bigger cattle herd.

The data has been leaked from new official statistics of a 20% drop in herd numbers since 2011, although many had believed the previous data to be rather inflated. hardly indicates that Indonesia will be sufficient in beef production any time soon.

Sources in the Australian cattle export industry said they had always suspected the 2011 figures were grossly inflated to help justify the import quota system which has caused beef prices to skyrocket in Indonesia.

Indonesia's Tempo magazine published the leaked figures in this month's edition and reported that in many regions breeding heifers were being slaughtered for meat.

Agriculture Minister Suswono claimed last month that Indonesia was on target to reach its self-sufficiency target in 2014. "We hope it will be achieved next year," he said.

It is too soon to even speculate about increases in live cattle numbers going to Indonesia, especially as there are already some considerable increases still to be worked through over the next month or so.  It will be import numbers for early 2014 that will be critical, and it might be they will improve.

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