Rural communities will lose nearly $350 million a year when the last of the ships with live cattle set sail for China next week. A bill to ban exports was passed last September, after concerns over ongoing animal welfare issues during voyages. One Ashburton farmer says he lose $150,000 a year after breeding between 150 and 200 cows specifically for live export to China. It costs about $400 to raise a cow for export and they are worth twice as much as a cow sold on the domestic market, whereas the domestic market is much softer. Livestock Export NZ Chair Mark Willis says they are hoping a change of government might offer a life line for the industry.