At the sheep sale last week, the Cowra Regional Livestock Selling Centre introduced AgriNous software, a new digital livestock booking and stock management system. This is huge step in the saleyard’s preparations for the mandatory rollout of sheep eIDs in NSW and certainly puts Cowra on the front foot. Electronic identification (eID) devices have been used successfully in cattle across Australia since 2005, and in sheep and goats in Victoria since 2016.
In September 2022, every Minister for Agriculture in Australia agreed to work towards mandatory implementation of sheep and goat eIDs nation wide by 1 January 2025. This is a big, but essential, move away from the current mob-based system, towards better traceability. What does the roll-out of eIDs mean for most sheep producers?
The big change for all sheep producers is the switch from visual NLIS ear tags to electronic NLIS ear tags. From 1 January 2025, all sheep born after this date, will need an eID tag before leaving your property. From 1 January 2027 this will apply to all sheep, regardless of when they were born.
What additional equipment you’ll require will depend on the movements of sheep onto and off your property, and whether you want to use the eIDs for other management purposes.
If you move stock onto your property, or between properties with different PICs, you will need a way of reading these tags and uploading them onto the NLIS database. This includes movements when there is no change of ownership – for example between properties you own which have different PICs, or, to agistment properties.
If you run sheep over multiple PICs, now is a good time to consider amalgamating these PICs. Please contact your local LLS office on 1300 795 299 for more information.
If you are only buying in a few rams every year, you could visually read the NLIS number on each tag and enter these onto the database manually. If you are buying in a few hundred maiden ewes every year, you’ll either need a scanner or you’ll need to engage someone, such as an agent, to do this for you.
Many producers mistakenly assume when buying sheep privately or via online platforms such as AuctionsPlus, that this movement is put on the database by a third party. This is very often not the case, and failure to record these movements results in huge gaps in traceability.
It is up to you as the buyer to put this movement on the database, and this will remain the same with the rollout of electronic tags. It is not a problem for someone to do this on your behalf, but it is your legal responsibility to check it has been done.
If you only buy trade lambs from the saleyards, the saleyards will be responsible for scanning the eIDs and recording the movement on the NLIS database, so you won’t necessarily need a scanner. Likewise, if you are selling sheep through the saleyards or to an abattoir, the saleyard or abattoir operators are responsible for scanning and recording each animal’s eID into the NLIS database.
If you are selling sheep directly to other producers or via online platforms such as AuctionsPlus you are not responsible for recording the movement on the NLIS database – remember this is the responsibility of the buyer. However, you may choose to supply the eID device numbers to the buyer.
There are many producers in our district who have been using eIDs for years because of the production benefits and it is definitely worth considering how you can incorporate this technology into your business.
Applications are open for the NSW Sheep and Goat eID infrastructure Rebate Scheme until 31 March 2024. Producers may be eligible for a 50% rebate of up to $11,250 for an auto drafter that is fitted with a panel reader and related software, and up to $4000 for a handheld wand reader.
For more information visit the NSW DPI eID website - www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/eid. All the links to apply for the rebate are on this website, as well as a handy equipment purchasing guide.
District Veterinarians: Em Johnstone (0419 334 077) or call 1300 795 299
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