Australian cattle exporter Wellard has surged 20 per cent after announcing its first shipment to China had set sail.

The stock (ASX:WLD) was up as much as 20 per cent in Wednesday morning trade, settling to 14c by lunchtime.

Wellard shares rose more than 50 per cent to 18c around the time the China deal was announced in September.

Two thousand angus and angus-cross cattle departed from Portland, Victoria yesterday afternoon for an 18-day trip to Shidao in the Chinese Province of Shandong.

Wellard shares rose 20 per cent today after a China cattle shipment set sail. Source: Investing.com

The shipment is the company’s first live export to be quarantined then processed in a purpose-built facility on arrival.

It’s the biggest consignment of this type organised by Australian exporters so far, after live export protocols were signed with China in mid-2015.

Under the agreement, animals must be slaughtered within 14 days of arrival.

Executive director Fred Troncone said small shipments like this would lead to bigger opportunities as the commercial landscape rebalanced.

“We want to make this trail shipment an absolute success so that we can develop a more regular trade, grow our cattle exports to China and increase our vessel utilisation,” he told investors.

“A more regular trade will also send a strong signal to cattle producers that there will be enduring demand for their quality livestock.”