Electronic identification for sheep and goats in Victoria

Electronic Id for sheep and goats

Investing now, protecting tomorrow.

The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) is Australia’s system for identifying and tracking livestock for food safety, disease control, animal welfare and market access purposes.

Victoria commenced the transition to an electronic tag based NLIS (Sheep & Goats) on 1 January 2017. Since then, Victoria’s sheep and goat industry have implemented a number of required changes.

  • Victorian producers have purchased more than 17 million electronic NLIS (Sheep) tags to identify sheep and goats
  • all Victorian sheep processors commenced scanning electronically tagged animals from 31 December 2017
  • all Victorian sheep saleyards commenced scanning electronically tagged animals from 31 March 2018
  • property to property movement recording commenced from 31 March 2018

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The introduction of electronic identification makes it possible to quickly and accurately track animals during animal disease and food safety emergencies, helping to maintain and expand market access for Victoria’s valuable livestock industries.

When did property to property movement recording start?

Movement recording of electronically tagged sheep and goats that move between Victorian properties became mandatory on 31 March 2018. This includes the private sale of animals, animals being agisted or lent and animals being traded through online selling platforms such as AuctionsPlus, Gumtree and Facebook.

    The person receiving electronically tagged sheep and goats directly from another property must notify the NLIS database of their arrival within 48 hours, or before they next move, whichever is the sooner. Anyone who receives animals can notify the database by:

  • scanning the electronic tags using a tag reader, then opening a database account and reporting the arrival of sheep or goats, or
  • engaging a stock agent or scanning contractor on a fee for service basis to scan the sheep or goats and notify the NLIS database.
  • There are no fees associated with registering movements on the NLIS database.
    For more information on using the NLIS database, visit nlis.com.auor contact the NLIS database helpline on 1800 654 743 during business hours.

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New requirement for sheep and goats moving into Victoria

From 1 January 2019, all sheep and goats born after 1 January 2019 and introduced into Victoria from interstate must be electronically tagged before being dispatched from a Victorian property.

  • sheep and goats can be introduced into Victoria for sale or slaughter, provided they are identified in accordance with the requirements of their state of origin
  • animals born after 1 January 2019 and introduced into Victoria must be identified with an electronic pink NLIS (Sheep) post-breeder tag before being
  • dispatched from a Victorian property, unless they already have an electronic ear tag
  • if sheep or goats are already identified with an electronic NLIS (Sheep) tag, do not attach a second electronic NLIS (Sheep) tag
  • visual and electronic NLIS (Sheep) tags must not be removed from purchased sheep and goats.

    How to purchase tags

    There are three ways to purchase electronic NLIS (Sheep) tags:

  • visit www.tags.agriculture.vic.gov.au to use Agriculture Victoria’s online tag ordering service, or
  • request a paper application form by calling the NLIS helpline on 1800 678 779 during business hours, or
  • order tags through rural retailers.

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Benefits along the supply chain

In addition to traceability, electronic identification of sheep and goats provides benefits for industry along the supply chain.

On farm, the use of electronic identification technology provides the opportunity to record and access detailed information about individual animals. This information can be used to improve flock management and maximise productivity gains.

Depending on a producer’s management needs, individual animal records could include:

  • genetics/bloodlines
  • breeding history
  • weight gain
  • vaccine and parasite control history and relevant withholding periods
  • supplement history
  • fibre diameter measurements
  • pregnancy scanning data.

There are also significant benefits for the processing sector in providing accurate provenance details, managing product for market specifications, and greater efficiency across the supply chain. Individual animal statuses can be applied to EID tags, allowing improved quality assurance checks for producers and processors to ensure treated livestock are not entering the supply chain.

The introduction of electronic identification of sheep and goats will provide trading partners with increased confidence in the safety and origin of Victorian products, protecting and enhancing access to expanding and profitable local and export markets.


Where can I get more information?

For further information:

Authorised and published by Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, 1 Spring Street, Melbourne. August 2016.
Disclaimer: This information may be of assistance to you but the State of Victoria and its employees do not guarantee that the information is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all liability for any error, loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information in this publication.

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