Small landholders

Find out about your requirements as an owner or keeper of animals.

Key responsibilities

You must ensure that:

  • the land on which animals are kept has a Property Identification Code (PIC),
  • cattle, sheep and goats are identified with an NLIS ear tag before leaving your property,
  • pigs are identified with a tag or tattoo before leaving your property
  • the arrival of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs directly from another property is registered within 2 days on the NLIS or PigPass database
  • a movement document is supplied to the person receiving your animals.

Do you own or keep animals?

You must have a Property Identification Code (PIC). PICs define a property where livestock are kept and who has responsibility for the livestock.

Victorian law requires people to have a PIC for the properties on which they intend to graze or keep:

  • one or more cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, alpaca, llamas, deer, horses, camels
  • more than 50 poultry (i.e. domesticated fowl, chickens, ducks, geese, turkey, guinea fowl, pigeons, quail or pheasants) or 10 emus or 10 ostriches.

Apply for or amend a Property Identification Code online

Apply, update, or cancel a PIC

Property Identification Codes, or PICs, are an important element of livestock traceability.

PICs identify the properties on which livestock graze and certain plants grow.

They provide vital information about the whereabouts of animals and enable the Victorian Government to contact and support owners during disease outbreaks and emergencies.

You are required by law to have a PIC if you have the following in Victoria:

  • one or more pigs, sheep, goats, alpacas, llamas, deer, horses, camel or cattle
  • more than 50 poultry, 10 emus or ostriches
  • 0.5 hectares or more of grapevines
  • 20 or more chestnut trees.

To apply for a PIC, open an internet browser and type pic.agriculture.gov.au into your address bar, then type enter.

Select ‘apply for a new PIC’, then click continue.

Enter your contact details.

Be sure to include the area code of any landline phone numbers.

Supplying an email address along with multiple phone numbers will give us the best opportunity to make contact during an emergency.

If the livestock or crop on this PIC is co-owned by another person or business their details can be added as a joint owner.

If you are sharing land but each person has their own livestock or crop, apply for separate PICs.

To add a joint owner, click here, and enter their details.

The farm manager is the person who can be contacted regarding the day-to-day operations of the land registered to your PIC.

If that person is someone other than yourself, add their contact details here.

Please note, you can only nominate one farm manager.

The property owner is the person who can be contacted regarding the ownership of the land registered to your PIC.

If that person is someone other than yourself enter the property owner details.

When you've completed the contact details section click the green continue button.

The system will alert you if you entered an invalid phone number or email address. If you get an alert, review the information and resolve any issues, then click continue.

Now, you need to map your property.

You can enter multiple properties or parcels of land to the same PIC provided they are in the same or neighbouring Local Government Area.

If you have livestock or crop in other non-adjoining localities you will need to apply for multiple PICs.

This is a very important step and should be completed with care.

To map your property, search for the area on the map and click the land to add it to your addresses.

If you cannot find your property, please call the helpline for assistance.

When a property is mapped it will be highlighted in blue and appear in a list on the right-hand side of your screen under ‘addresses’.

If you select the wrong property, click it on the map again to remove it or click the cross next to the property in your addresses list.

You may want to enter a smaller parcel of land than the system automatically selects.

To do this, click ‘further instructions’ and tick the box that says ‘let me select parcels of land’.

Now, choose the parcel of land where you are going to keep livestock or grow crops.

Your primary property is the main property where you keep your livestock or grow your crop.

To change your primary property, click on the appropriate listing.

When all of your properties or parcels have been added, click the green continue button.

Finally, enter the livestock and crop you have on your property.

If you do not have any livestock at present but intend to in the future please tick ‘yes’ and enter what you propose to have on your property.

This can be an estimate if you're unsure of the exact number you will have a keep in the future.

When you are satisfied the livestock and crop figures are indicative of your property, save them.

Review your application.

If you spot any errors, click the green edit button in the relevant section to correct the error.

Now, read the acknowledgment and click if you agree.

Now continue.

Allow seven business days for your PIC application to be processed.

You will receive a card in the mail with your eight-digit PIC.

It's important to keep your PIC up-to-date.

Amend your PIC online if you change contact details, hire a new farm manager, the property on which your livestock or crop is located changes ownership, the livestock or crop you have changes, or you purchase, sell or lease land.

If you have any difficulty applying for or amending your PIC, talk to the friendly staff at the Agriculture Victoria NLIS Helpline on 1800 678 779 between 9am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

For more information about PICs, go to the Agriculture Victoria website.

Do you trade, give away or move animals?

Livestock must be identified before they leave your property. Identification requirements differ for cattle, sheep, goats and pigs.

Animal identification – cattle, sheep and goats

All cattle, sheep and goats must be tagged with a NLIS tag before leaving a property. This includes animals being kept as pets and given away.

There are two types of tags available for cattle, sheep and goats.

  1. NLIS breeder tags are white for cattle and for sheep and goats they are colour-coded to match the sheep/goat industries year of birth tag colour system. Breeder tags are used to permanently identify livestock before they leave their property of birth.
  2. NLIS post breeder tags are orange for cattle and pink for sheep and goats. They are used to permanently identify introduced livestock, not already identified with an electronic tag, or that have lost their original tag.

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

  • Cattle - NLIS Breeder and Post-breeder devices must be attached to the animals right (offside) ear.
  • Never attach a second electronic NLIS tag if an electronic NLIS tag is already present.
  • Breeder and Post-breeder tags purchased for use on one property must not be applied to livestock located on another property.
  • Breeder and Post-breeder tags must not be sold, given away or reused.
  • Breeder and Post-breeder tags must not be removed
  • NLIS (cattle), NLIS (sheep) and NLIS (goat) tags are livestock specific and must not be used to identify another species.

Read more about cattle, sheep and goat identification.

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

Animal identification – pigs

Pigs must be identified before being moved off a property (except where change of ownership does not occur) with either a tag or tattoo brand depending on their body weight. This includes pigs being kept as pets and given away.

  • Less than 25kg — must be tagged
  • More than 25kg — must be tattooed.

Read more about pig identification.

Movement documents

A movement document must be completed when cattle, sheep, goats and pigs of any age are:

  • sent to an abattoir, saleyard or scale
  • moved to a property with a different Property Identification Code (PIC)
  • given away or sold as pets.

It must be provided to the person receiving the animals by no later than the time of their arrival.

Movement documents are not required:

  • for dead livestock being sent for processing in a knackery
  • for livestock being consigned to an agricultural show or exhibition (provided the livestock will be returned to the exhibitor's property immediately after the event).

Read more about movement documents.

Do you introduce or buy animals?

All cattle, sheep, goats and pigs moving between properties with a different PIC must be recorded by the person receiving the animals, within two days of their arrival.

This movement record is completed on the NLIS database or the PigPass database (pigs) and shows that the livestock have moved on a specific date from one PIC to another and indicates where the livestock currently reside.

A property-to-property movement includes:

  • private sales of animals
  • animals being agisted or lent
  • animals traded through online selling platforms such as AuctionsPlus, Gumtree and Facebook

Read more about property movements.

Page last updated: 26 Apr 2022