NLIS tag requirements for sheep and goats

To support the livestock industry and meet traceability requirements, producers must ensure sheep and goats are identified and National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) transfer records and movement declarations are accurately completed.

Timeline

Timeline for phasing in electronic identification for sheep and goats, including photograph of sheep in a field and Agriculture Victoria logo. Timeline described in the paragraph below.

To support the livestock industry and meet traceability requirements, electronic identification is being phased in.

  • 1 January 2017: Tagging commences.
  • 31 December 2017: Processor scanning commences.
  • 31 March 2018: Saleyard scanning commences. Property to property movements recorded.
  • 1 January 2019: Tagging commences for sheep and goats from interstate, born after 1 January 2019.
  • 1 January 2022: All sheep leaving a Victorian farm must be tagged.

NLIS Victorian standards for sheep and goats

The purpose of these standards is to provide minimum traceability requirements across the Victorian sheep and goat sector.

Property Identification Codes

Under Victorian law, individuals must have a Property Identification Code (PIC) for the properties on which they graze sheep, goats and other livestock.

There is no cost to apply for a PIC, or to update PIC details.

To apply for a PIC:

  1. You can apply or amend a PIC online via our Online PIC service.
  2. Download one of the application forms (link below).
  3. Contact the PIC Helpline on 1800 678 779 to have a form mailed or faxed to you or to cancel a PIC.

See Property Identification Codes for more information.

NLIS sheep and goat tags

All sheep and non-exempt goats, regardless of age, must be tagged with an NLIS (sheep) tag before being dispatched off a property.

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

  • NLIS (Sheep and goat) breeder tags are colour-coded to match the sheep industry's 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.

Tagging requirements

Before being dispatched off a property:

  • all sheep and most goat breeds born in Victoria from 1 January 2017 must be identified with an electronic NLIS (Sheep) tag
  • 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

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.

From 1 January 2022, all sheep and non-exempt goats will need to be identified with an electronic NLIS (Sheep) tag before being moved off a Victorian property.

When applying NLIS sheep and goat tags:

  • Tags can be attached to either ear, though trials indicate that fewer tags are lost at shearing when placed in the left ear.
  • Only one electronic NLIS (Sheep and goat) tag must be attached to an animal.
  • Tags purchased for use on one property must not be applied to sheep or goats located on another property.
  • Tags must not be used to identify any other livestock species (such as cattle).
  • Tags must not be removed until the animal is processed in an abattoir or knackery – unless the device is damaged and cannot be read electronically.
  • Year of birth colour for sheep and goats is not a requirement in Victoria, but it is encouraged.
  • Apply tags according to the manufacturer's instruction.

Tagging exemptions

Tagging, with either a visual tag or electronic tag, is optional for:

  • dead sheep and goats that are being consigned directly to a knackery
  • rangeland (feral) goats consigned to a knackery and destined for immediate slaughter

The following goat breeds also don't require tags:

  • Saanen
  • British Alpine
  • Toggenburg
  • Anglo Nubian
  • Melaan
  • Australian Brown (the ears of dairy goat breeds can become infected when tagged)
  • Elf (Elf breed of goat has rudimentary ears that are difficult to tag)

See Livestock identification for more information about livestock identification and tagging.

Ordering NLIS sheep and goat NLIS tags

Electronic NLIS tags

Victorian producers can purchase NLIS sheep and goat tags at cost-competitive prices.

There are 2 ways to purchase electronic NLIS sheep and goat tags:

  1. Order your tags online
  2. Download an application form and then complete and return to Agriculture Victoria:

Visual NLIS tags

Non-electronic visually readable NLIS (Sheep) can only be used on animals born before 1 January 2017.

You can't order these tags through Agriculture Victoria. You can purchase them from rural retail outlets if you have a current Property Identification Code (PIC).

A list of approved sheep tag manufacturers is available on Meat and Livestock Australia website.

Recording livestock movement on the NLIS database

When animals are moved between properties with two different PICs (often called a P2P movement) it is the responsibility of the buyer or receiver of the livestock to notify the NLIS database of stock movements by conducting a transfer on the NLIS database within two days of the animal's arrival.

See Property to property transfers for more information.

Sheep and goats on agistment

Sheep and goats moving to an agistment property must be identified with an NLIS tag.

PICs are allocated to a parcel of land that may consist of more than one block within the one locality, operating as part of one livestock enterprise. As long as the land on which the livestock are agisted and leased is in the same locality (in the same shire or in a neighbouring shire), then both blocks of land can be covered by the 'home' PIC.

If the agistment property operates under a different PIC, the movement of the sheep or goats must be recorded on the NLIS database as for other P2P movements. The database transfer must be completed within two days of the arrival of the sheep or goats at the agistment property.

Sheep and goats born on an agistment property must be identified with an NLIS breeder tag issued for use on that property.

National Vendor Declaration

An National Vendor Declaration (NVD) must be completed before sheep or goats are dispatched off a property to a

  • saleyard
  • abattoir
  • show
  • event
  • when moving livestock to a property with a different PIC.

The NVD must be provided to the receiver of the sheep or goats by no later than the time of arrival of the stock.

See National Vendor Declarations for more information.

Lifetime traceable

The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) provides a life history of cattle, sheep and goats that are identified with accredited NLIS tags or devices.

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.

More information

Agriculture Victoria NLIS Helpline operates between 9 am and 4.30 pm Monday to Friday. Call 1800 678 779 or email nlis.victoria@agriculture.vic.gov.au

Integrity Systems Company operates the NLIS Database Helpdesk from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. Call the NLIS Database Helpdesk on 1800 654 743 or email support@nlis.com.au

Page last updated: 14 Sep 2021