Cattle industry heavyweight Paul Holmes a Court says pastoralists have learned that exporting live beasts is a privilege, not a right, and animal welfare guarantees are needed for the trade.
The Heytesbury Cattle Company chief executive says the resumption of live exports could still be weeks away following the lifting of the federal government ban on live exports to Indonesia.
The suspension of the trade was imposed by Canberra in early June after footage was shown on the ABC's Four Corners program of the brutal handling and killing of cattle in some Indonesian abattoirs.
Mr Holmes a Court came out in support of the suspension, saying a much tighter surveillance system was needed to ensure cattle passed through abattoirs that adhered to Western standards of humane killing.
He told ABC Radio on Thursday that any exports could be weeks away with exporters having to apply for permits and give guarantees about animal welfare.
"I'd be very surprised if anything moves before August."
Mr Holmes a Court said export permits would have to be given and Indonesian import permits gained, ships brought back, trucks found and cattle mustered again to get the trade moving.
"It will certainly be smaller and it will be less profitable. The cost of compliance with these new rules is going to be significant," he said.
There would be fewer Indonesian customers because only a few would be able to comply with the new rules.
"What's been achieved is we've got new guarantees in place, we've got tighter controls that are going to give guarantees about animal welfare and that's been a big lesson.
Mr Holmes a Court said the industry had been reminded that the ability to export animals overseas was "a privilege not a right".
"That privilege is only extended to us if we have the appropriate controls and give the guarantees that people require.
"The last four weeks we've been faced with the alternative, that the trade gets wiped out and it's been a very, very bleak picture.
Mr Holmes a Court's cattle company has six stations across Australia's north and is one of the largest exporters of live beasts to Indonesia, sending around 25,000 head a year.