The Struggle is Real for Red Meat and Cattle Trade, but There is Light at the End of the Tunnel

The Indonesia-Australia Partnership on Food Security in the Red Meat and Cattle Sector (the Partnership) has released its 2020 Joint State of the Industry Report. While industry will continue to face pricing-related struggles in 2021, both countries are working through the challenges, with Indonesia seeking alternative suppliers and Australia rebuilding its herd.



In 2020, live cattle imports into Indonesia slumped, as feedlots and abattoirs felt the pressure of high cattle prices. The price of Australian feeder cattle is likely to remain high in 2021 due to restocking after years of drought. In response to constrained supply, Indonesia is exploring options to import live cattle from Mexico and Brazil. Australian boxed meat products will also face increasing competition from other suppliers, particularly frozen buffalo meat from India and beef from South America.

Mr Chris Tinning, Australian Co-Chair of the Partnership, expects that the Australian national herd will grow in the second half of 2021, reducing pressure on the price of feeder cattle.

“Restocking following prolonged drought and flooding has increased competition for Australian cattle now that environmental conditions are more favourable, driving the export feeder cattle price upwards. We acknowledge that high Australian prices are producing challenges for the Indonesian red meat and cattle industry in what is already a difficult time with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we expect that prices will ease in the second half of 2021 as restocking slows, and the herd rebuild stabilises.”

Dr Riyatno, Indonesian Co-Chair of the Partnership, stated that the Government of Indonesia intends to ensure national demand for beef is fulfilled, especially during Ramadhan and the upcoming Eid al‑Fitr celebration.

“It is a difficult time for us. We have to expand our domestic supply and broaden our international suppliers. However, Australia will remain our biggest and preferred partner in this sector.”

For more information and to view the full report, visit: and view the summary on

Fast Facts:

  • Australian cattle prices ended 2020 at an historic high with sales at AU$4.18 per kg (lwt).
  • The Government of Indonesia has responded to supply issues by increasing import quotas of Indian Buffalo Meat (80,000 tonnes for 2021) and Brazilian beef (20,000 tonnes).
  • Australian feeder cattle prices are projected to ease in the second half of 2021 as herd rebuilding slows and cattle numbers increase

About The Partnership

The Indonesia Australia Partnership on Food Security in the Red Meat and Cattle Sector (the Partnership) is a joint cooperation between Indonesia and Australia to support food security in the red meat and cattle sectors and access to the global supply chain for red meat and cattle products through trade and investment environment.

The 10-year Partnership will span until 2024, with AUD $ 60 million in funding from the Australian Government and co-contributions from project Partners.