By Boyd Champness

AUSTRALIAS volatile sheep trade with Saudi Arabia could re-start within months if a trial shipment of wethers (young castrated males) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is successful, according to the Stock and Land.

The shipment, to be loaded at the end of this month in Adelaide and Fremantle (Perth), will include between 10,000 and 15,000 wethers vaccinated against scabby mouth, the harmless but unsightly disease that prompted Saudi Arabia to stop importing Australian sheep in 1990.

Live sheep exports to Saudi were worth A$230 million (£95m) a year until health complaints decimated the trade.

However, if all goes according to plan, the first direct shipment to Saudi could sail as early as July, the paper reports.