LIVE cattle export vessel, Wellard's MV Ocean Shearer, has set a new world record for the largest shipment of live cattle.
The vessel sailed from Darwin on Saturday morning with 25,817 cattle, easily beating the ship's previous record of 24,683 head set in September earlier this year.
The vessel loaded in both Broome and Darwin, and was loaded by three different exporters, including Wellard. Wellard's consignment of cattle was sourced from a range of individual producers and the company's own floodplain blocks east of Darwin.
About 9000 steers and heifers were loaded in Broome and 15,500 cattle were loaded in Darwin. The vessel will unload in the Indonesian ports of Jakarta and Panjang.
Wellard Trading chief executive officer Fred Troncone said the ability to assemble the large shipment wasn't just a reflection of supply, it also reflected strong demand from Indonesian importers and consumers.
Mr Troncone said while the onset of the northern Australian wet season was starting to restrict supply, Wellard expects to continue to export cattle during the wet season.
"The size and make-up of the Wellard shipping fleet, which is the most modern livestock fleet in the world, enables Wellard to tailor its export and shipping programs to match supply and demand," Mr Troncone said.
"So we can be flexible whether we continue to use a larger vessel, or switch to one of our newer, smaller vessels. Previously exports have ground to a halt during the wet season, but the production and transport systems have evolved to ensure it is a year-round trade."
Cattle will be supplied to Indonesia and other South East Asian countries, providing an end market and price competition for cattle which are on either side of the Indonesian 350kg weight limit.
The MV Ocean Shearer, which is the largest livestock vessel in the world, was again loaded at about 80 per cent of her capacity when she sailed, allowing the on-board stockmen and crew to allocate each animal significantly more space than the Australian regulatory standards prescribe.