Shearer shaves record

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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, with 25,817 cattle, beating the ship's previous record of 24,683 head set in September this year.

The new record was a team effort. The vessel loaded in 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.

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Wellard Trading chief executive 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.

Although the onset of the northern Australian wet season is starting to restrict cattle supply, Wellard expects to continue to export cattle.

"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 was loaded at about 80 per cent of her capacity.

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