Scale operator requirements

As a business involved in the congregation, transportation and mixing of livestock, it's important for scale operators to have robust traceability practices and operations that meet legislative requirements.

Scale operator traceability requirements

To reach an acceptable level of traceability, participants along the supply chain must comply with legislation associated with livestock traceability and traceability systems.

As a scale operator, it's your responsibility to:

  • ensure animals are correctly tagged
  • transfer livestock from and to correct PICs
  • complete NLIS database transfers accurately and on time
  • ensure all animals are traded with accurate vendor declarations.

All scale operators require a:

  • property identification code (PIC) — this defines a property where livestock are kept. Your PIC will start with '3SC', which indicates that you run a scales business in Victoria
  • EUSY code — your PIC and EUSY code will be linked. This allows you to correctly transfer animals on the NLIS database. Your EUSY code will be allocated when you get a scale PIC.
  • National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) 'Saleyard' account — Scales are referred to as saleyards on the NLIS database as their uploads are the same. Apply online or call the NLIS helpdesk on 1800 654 743.

NLIS tagging requirements

When trading animals through a scale it is your responsibility as a scales operator to ensure that animals are correctly tagged. All cattle and calves must be identified with an NLIS tag.

A scale operator must tag livestock with an NLIS orange post-breeder tag (allocated to the scale) when:

  • it arrives at the scale untagged
  • it has a non-reading NLIS tag.

A scale operator must not apply a producer's NLIS tag to an animal that is at a scale. It is an offence against the scale operator if animals are missing tags or are incorrectly tagged when sold.

Post-breeder tags can be ordered online at tags.agriculture.vic.gov.au or by calling our NLIS Helpline on 1800 678 779.

Correct PICs used in NLIS transfers

Scale operators must transfer livestock from, and to, a correct and valid PIC.

The PIC on the National Vendor Declaration (NVD) must be used as the 'from' PIC in the NLIS transfer.

For any queries concerning PICs you can call our NLIS Helpline on 1800 678 779.

You can apply for, edit or cancel a PIC online.

NLIS scanning and transfer requirements

All livestock traded through a scale are required to be scanned and transferred on the NLIS database.

Scanning

Scale operators who pick up calves and cattle on farm must scan the animals on farm.

Scale operators at fixed locations where producers drop off calves and cattle must scan the animals before they leave the scale (calves under six weeks of age must be scanned on arrival to the scale).

NLIS transfer

As a scale operator, it's your responsibility to complete an NLIS transfer for the livestock movement from the vendor's PIC to the scale EUSY code (into scale transfer or take possession) and then from the scale EUSY code to the buyer's PIC (out of scale or sell file) on the NLIS database.

The into scale transfer for slaughter livestock must be uploaded to the NLIS database before the animals leave the scale.

The out of scale transfer must be completed by the close of business the next day after the sale.

The into and out of scale transfer for livestock going to a property or feedlot, must be uploaded to the NLIS database by the close of business the next day after the sale.

The following information must be uploaded to the NLIS database:

  • vendor/buyer PIC
  • date of sale/transaction
  • NLIS or RFID tag number for each animal
  • serial number on the movement record or NVD
  • EUSY number.

If an NLIS transfer is completed incorrectly the transfer can be edited or removed and re-uploaded.

The NLIS database sends emails and alerts to inform of any errors or issues related to an NLIS upload.

These emails should be monitored to ensure transfers are completed successfully and that errors or warnings are actioned, where they occur.

Current holdings

Devices that remain registered to your EUSY code and not transferred to the correct destination PIC are called 'current holdings'.

It's a legal requirement that scales operators manage current holdings and ensure that all animals being traded through the scale are transferred off the scale EUSY on the NLIS database within the legislated timeframe (by close of business the day after the sale).

Current holdings can be managed by a scale operator using an NLIS database account. Emails that list all holdings recorded against a scale's EUSY are sent by the NLIS database on a weekly basis to the email account recorded on the database.

Visit the NLIS website or call 1800 654 743 for more information about the NLIS, to sign up or to edit NLIS account details.

Ensure all animals are traded with accurate vendor declarations

An accurate and complete National Vendor Declaration must be present at the time of the animals arrival at the scale.

Animals must not be traded without a vendor declaration.

Legislation

To reach an acceptable level of traceability, participants along the supply chain must comply with legislation associated with livestock traceability and traceability systems.

The legislation governing scale operators for NLIS and animal welfare is the:

Scale operator — fixed

  1. Livestock delivered to scale:
  • all animals must be correctly tagged
  • untagged animals must be tagged with an orange post breeder tag allocated to the scale
  • all animals must be accompanied by a fully completed vendor declaration
  • Livestock scanned at scale:
    • all animals must be scanned
    • unreadable tags must be removed and replaced with an orange post breeder tag allocated to the scale
  • NLIS transfer completed:
    • transfer must be completed before the animals are dispatched if going direct to an abattoir or knackery or completed by close of business the following day if going to a property or feedlot
    • transfer must be completed as a scale 'in' and 'out 'on the NLIS database
    • PIC on the NVD must be used as the 'from' PIC in the transfer
  • Livestock transferred to destination
    • if animals are not unloaded at destination PIC, the transfer must be updated
    • vendor declaration must be provided to the receiver of the livestock at the point of arrival

    Infographic showing how a fixed scale operation fits into the process

    Scale operator — mobile

    1. Livestock picked picked up
    • all animals must be correctly tagged
    • all animals must be accompanied by a fully completed vendor declaration
  • Livestock scanned on farm
    • all animals must be scanned
    • any animals with non-reading NLIS tags must be retagged or be left behind
  • NLIS transfer completed
    • transfer must be completed before the animals are unloaded off the truck (if going direct to an abattoir or knackery) or completed by close of business the following day if going to a property or feedlot
    • transfer must be completed as a scale 'in' and 'out 'on the NLIS database
    • PIC on the NVD must be used as the 'from' PIC in the transfer
  • Livestock transported to destination
    • if animals are not unloaded at the destination PIC included in the transfer, the transfer must be updated
    • vendor declaration must be provided to the receiver at the point of arrival

    Infographic showing how a mobile scale operation fits into the process

    Download:

    More information on NLIS

    'Traceability: your livestock, your industry, our future'

    Agriculture Victoria NLIS Helpline

    For more information:

    NLIS Database Helpdesk contacts

    The NLIS Database Helpdesk is operated by the Integrity Systems Company.

    Call 1800 654 743 between 9am and 5pm (AEST), Monday to Friday, or email support@nlis.com.au

    Download the fact sheets:

    Starting up a scale operation (WORD - 155.9 KB)

    Scale operator requirements (WORD - 160.9 KB)

    Page last updated: 08 Sep 2020