Livestock identification and ordering NLIS tags

Order National Livestock Identification (NLIS) Tags from Agriculture Victoria

Call our NLIS helpline on 1800 678 779 between 9am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday, submit a paper application form or order online.

Order NLIS tags online

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.

Tagging requirements

  • NLIS Breeder and Post-breeder tags must be attached to an animal’s right (offside) ear.
  • Only one electronic NLIS (Cattle) tag must be present on an animal at any time
  • NLIS (Cattle) tags purchased for use on one property must not be applied to cattle located on another property, unless the parcel of land is linked to the PIC. Visit Property Identification Codes website to amend your PIC details.
  • NLIS (Cattle) tags must not be used to identify any other livestock species (such as sheep, goats, alpacas and pigs).
  • NLIS (Cattle) tags must not be removed – unless the device is damaged and cannot be read electronically.

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

Cattle NLIS tag application form:

Download and print our paper application form (only send by post, do not email this form):

You can also call our NLIS helpline on 1800 678 779 between 9am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday, or order your tags securely online:

Order cattle tags online

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.

From 1 January 2022 all sheep and non-exempt goats, regardless of age, must be identified with an electronic NLIS (Sheep) tag before leaving a Victorian property.

Interstate animals

All sheep and non-exempt goats introduced from interstate must be tagged with an electronic NLIS (Sheep) pink post-breeder tag before being dispatched from a Victorian property, unless they are already tagged with an electronic NLIS (Sheep) tag.

Sheep and goats dispatched from an interstate property and entering Victoria must be identified in accordance with the legal requirements of the jurisdiction from which they were dispatched.

Tagging requirements

  • Only one electronic NLIS (Sheep) tag must be present on a sheep or goat at any time.
  • NLIS (Sheep) tags purchased for use on one property must not be applied to sheep or goats located on another property, unless the parcel of land is linked to the PIC. Visit the Property Identification Codes website to amend your PIC details.
  • NLIS (Sheep) tags must not be used to identify any other livestock species (such as cattle, alpacas and pigs).
  • NLIS (Sheep) tags must not be removed unless the device is damaged and cannot be read electronically.

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

Sheep and goat NLIS tag application form:

Download and print our paper application form (only send by post, do not email this form):

You can also call our NLIS helpline on 1800 678 779 between 9am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday, or order your tags securely online:

Order sheep tags online

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.

Pig NLIS tag application form:

Download and print our paper application form (only send by post, do not email this form):

You can also call our NLIS helpline on 1800 678 779 between 9am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

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.

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:

  1. visual identification on the outside of the tag (the NLIS number), which includes the PIC
  2. 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.

Lifetime traceable livestock

An animal is deemed lifetime traceable if every property of residence in its life has been registered on the NLIS database. Any movements that are not recorded on the NLIS database result in a gap in the history of the animal and results in the loss of lifetime traceability.

Lifetime traceability is important for biosecurity, disease and residue purposes and helps to protect the Australian livestock industry.

Page last updated: 09 Aug 2022