Vietnam is firming as one of WA’s pillar live cattle destinations on the back of burgeoning demand for Australian breeder and feeder bovine stock. The South East Asian nation accounted for 91,543 of the 270,083 live cattle shipped from Australian ports during the first three months of this year, with 27,406 head sent on voyages from WA. Vietnam’s growing cattle intake has doubled year-on-year, after the country imported 46,539 head across the same timeframe in 2019, Federal Government figures show. Mecardo analyst Matt Dalgleish said Vietnam’s rapidly increasing live cattle imports from Australia in the first quarter of 2020 averaged a 189 per cent increase on the five-year trend. “Live cattle export flows have been strong for the first quarter of 2020, despite COVID-19 disruptions,” he said. “Although there has been a noticeable shift in market share with Indonesia giving up ground while Vietnamese demand expands.” Of the national total, 105,807 cattle were shipped to Indonesia and China accounted for 31,898 head. Australia exported 96,174 live cattle in February, before easing 14 per cent in March to 82,468 head. Mr Dalgleish said cattle imports to Indonesia were about 10 per cent below normal seasonal levels, based on the five-year average trend for March. But he said the falling Indonesian total was offset by Vietnam’s rising demand. “Indeed, the growth in the Australian live cattle trade to Vietnam has been robust enough to see a significant lift in market share this season,” he said.