The State Government will spend $1.3 million this financial year on a major initiative to develop the Kimberley cattle and beef export industry.
Agriculture Minister Ernie Bridge said the aim was to identify new South East Asian markets for the region's beef and cattle, increase herd production, improve herd management techniques, and develop sustainable grazing systems in the Kimberley.
The program was being undertaken in close co-operation with local pastoralists and would complement the work of the Kimberley Pastoral Industry Advisory Committee - comprising local industry, business and Government representatives - which is looking at opportunities for growth and innovation in the Kimberley pastoral industry.
"Exporting cattle and beef to our Asian neighbours is an industry with huge potential, and this program is a good example of how the Government and pastoralists can work together to help agricultural industries become more competitive internationally," he said.
The Kimberley pastoral industry - worth $30 million annually - currently exports about 10,000 feeder steer worth $4 million a year to markets in South East Asia.
The industry consists of 90 leases covering 22 million hectares and managing a herd of 380,000 cattle. It surrounds the port of Wyndham, which is one of Australia's closest ports to the Asian region.
Mr Bridge said the Department of Agriculture would review current market requirements and work with pastoralists to initiate new herd management techniques to meet the requirements of new markets.
"Recent research by the department has shown potential for increased herd productivity through stock control and better management," he said.
"Further work will focus on reducing stress on breeding cows, evaluating the success of weaning calves early, and developing new feeding systems for calves.
"We will also be looking at better defining the amount of phosphorus required by cattle, because while phosphorus is essential for cattle growth and reproduction, it represents a large cost to pastoralists."
Mr Bridge said sustainable grazing systems would also be developed to maintain and ideally improve pasture condition, define appropriate levels of pasture use, and determine the effect of stock distribution. The role of fire in pasture management would also be studied.