RUSSIAN demand for Australian Angus heifers is expected to continue for at least another two years.
According to Phil George, director of the Bryansk Meat Company, plans are in place to establish a breeding herd of 100,000.
"We already have 50,000 heifers," Mr George said.
"We might even go 50 per cent more than that," he said.
The experienced US cattle rancher from Kansas was recruited last year to head up the beef operation of Bryansk, which released a plan in 2009 to run 100,00 Angus breeders on 33 farms south of Moscow. The company has interests in pork and beef.
It is also a processor and importer of beef and live animals.
The Bryansk cattle business is backed by the Russian Government and international bank HSBC.
Australian exporters supplying Bryansk won $39 million of insurance coverage on credit sales from the Australia Export Finance Insurance Corporation last August.
Australian agents have been securing Angus heifers through the auctions and private sales for more than a year.
Australian heifers, which are shipped via the Suez Canal and the Black Sea, are estimated to account for 40 per cent of the current imports. The US is the other supplier. The company is also in the market for Angus bulls, which was the reason Mr George was a major buyer at the Lawsons Angus sale at Yea last week.
He bought about 20 bulls, which he described as having "low birthweight, ease of calving and good carcass data".
Mr George was expected to add a similar number of privately-bought bulls.
Lawsons Angus was the major supplier of bulls last year, including 59 bought at the Yea sale.
Mr George said Lawsons Angus had plenty of bulls, with the right breeding values to choose from.
Meanwhile, Elders has filled another order for Angus heifers, due to leave Portland next month.
The part-shipment includes 2900 Angus heifers, bringing Elders' Angus heifer exports to nearly 16,000 head in the past few months.
These heifers are outside the Bryansk order, but Elders' general manager of meat and livestock trading Hamish Browning said the short-term future for Russian heifer imports remained bright.
"The importers are subsidised 50 per cent for all the cattle they import under (Vladimir) Putin's $700-million beef import scheme, and we are two years into the three-year program," Mr Browning said.
While 100,000 heifers would be imported to Russia under the scheme, he said it would have negligible impact on meat imports by that country.
He described the sales as an "opportunity for Australian producers".