THE live cattle export trade to Indonesia could fall by about two-thirds before the wet season starts, Top End beef producers warn.That means room will have to be found for about 300,000 head of cattle back home.
There is still no sign the Federal Government will grant permits to Indonesia, despite lifting a temporary ban on exports earlier in July.
"It is possible that only 30 per cent to 40 per cent of the historic trade may go this year," Luke Bowen, from the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association, told ABC Radio.
If that happened, 60 per cent or more would need to go somewhere else or be held back on properties if it was "physically possible to do so, and financially possible to do so".
The next two to three months would be a crucial for producers, Mr Bowen said.
"You are at the time of the year when you are normally selling cattle and that is the time when you get income, but there is no income coming in," he said.
"So the road ahead is looking worse than what we have come through so far."
Australia exported 440,000 head of live cattle to Indonesia in 2010/11, down from 685,000 cattle exported in 2009/10.