Although the Northern Territory represents more than one sixth of Australia's land mass, it is home to only 200,000 people, or around 1% of the population of Australia. The NT has a very long dry season of about 8 months from April to November. The semi-tropical climate and land type has resulted in vast areas of grasslands suitable for the raising of cattle, but not productive enough for more intensive agriculture.
The NT is home to approximately 200 pastoral leases. Most of these are large-scale cattle operations with some capable of running in excess of 50,000 head of cattle.
The NT has a total cattle herd of around 1.8 million head, with an annual turnoff of around 500,000 cattle a year.
Up to two thirds of these cattle are sold to the live export trade. Because of the hot and humid conditions in the NT, most of these cattle have a high Brahman content. These cattle adapt quickly and easily to the climatic conditions in SE Asia.
The cattle industry in the NT is worth in excess of $200 million with well over half of this figure attributable through the live export trade. The industry now represents 38% of the total NT rural industries. The trade not only substantially increases returns for cattle producers, but creates many jobs within the following sectors; graziers, stock and station agents, trucking companies, veterinary services, infrastructure providers, fodder producers and manufacturers, stevedores and shipping companies