Livestock identification and ordering NLIS tags

NLIS (Cattle) tags

There are two types of NLIS (Cattle) tags available:

  • NLIS breeder tags are white and are used to permanently identify livestock before they leave their property of birth.
  • NLIS post-breeder tags are orange are used to permanently identify introduced livestock not already identified with an electronic tag, or that have lost their original tag.

It's very important that the correct NLIS tag is used, if not it will falsely indicate the breeding and life history of an animal.

See NLIS Cattle for more information about NLIS (Cattle) tags.

NLIS (Sheep and goat) tags

There are two types of electronic NLIS (Sheep and goat) tags available:

  • NLIS (Sheep and goat) breeder tags are colour coded to match the sheep industries year of birth tag colour system and are used to permanently identify sheep and goats before they leave their property of birth.
  • NLIS (Sheep and Goat) post breeder tags are pink and are used to permanently identify introduced sheep and goats, not already identified with an electronic tag, or that have lost their original tag.

It's very important that the correct NLIS tag is used, if not it will falsely indicate the breeding and life history of an animal.

Tagging requirements

  • All sheep and most goat breeds born in Victoria from 1 January 2017 must be identified with an electronic NLIS (Sheep) tag before being dispatched off a property.
  • All sheep and most goat breeds born before 1 January 2017 must be identified with either a visually readable or an electronic NLIS (Sheep) tag before being dispatched off a property.
  • All sheep and non-exempt goats introduced from interstate and born after 1 January 2019 must be electronically tagged with a pink post-breeder tag before being dispatched from a Victorian property, unless it is already tagged with an electronic NLIS (Sheep and Goat) tag.

See NLIS Sheep and goats for more information about NLIS (Sheep and goats) tags.

NLIS (Pigs) tags and tattoos

Pigs must be identified before leaving a property with either a tag or tattoo brand depending on its body weight:

  • less than 25kg — must be tagged
  • more than 25kg — must be tattooed

The tattoo or tag must identify the property from where the pigs are dispatched.

See NLIS Pigs for more information about NLIS (Pigs) tags.

Other livestock species

There are currently no NLIS tagging requirements for:

  • alpaca
  • llamas
  • camels
  • deer
  • horses
  • poultry (domesticated fowl, chickens, ducks, geese, turkey, guinea fowl, pigeons, quail or pheasants), or
  • emus or ostriches

Paper application forms

Order cattle tags online or use our paper application form:

Order sheep and goat tags online or use our paper application form:

Pig tattoo brand application form:

Pig tag application form:

How electronic tags work

Electronic tags contain a transponder that's encoded with a unique unalterable number that can be quickly read electronically using suitable reading equipment.

Transponder numbers and visually readable numbers

An NLIS electronic tag consists of 2 identifiers:

  • visual identification on the outside of the tag (the NLIS number), which includes the PIC
  • Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) number, which is the internal transponder number of the device

The visually readable NLIS number, or NLIS ID, consists of:

  • the 8-character PIC of the property on which the tag is to be used
  • 3 characters coding to represent the manufacturer, device type (for example, whether the tag is a breeder or post-breeder tag), year of supply (using the Australian Breedplan alpha character for that particular year)
  • a 5-character serial number (the first character may be a letter, except 'I' or 'O')

The following is an example of an NLIS number that might appear on an electronic NLIS (Sheep) breeder tag issued for use on a Victorian property:

3ABCD123 X S H 00034

In this example:

  • 3ABCD123 — Property Identification Code
  • X — Manufacturer
  • S — Device type
  • H — Year of supply
  • 00034 — Serial number

Tag accreditation

NLIS tags hold one of the following levels of accreditation with Integrity Systems (ISC):

  • conditional accreditation, where tags are still being assessed as part of a 3-year field trial but are performing satisfactorily, or
  • full accreditation, where the tags have completed their field trial and met the requirements of the national standards.
Page last updated: 04 Sep 2020