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The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS), National Vendor Declarations (NVD) and Tail (Transaction) Tags

Note number: AG 1255
Published: October 2006
Reviewed: November 2007

The National Vendor Declaration (NVD) is the key tool underpinning Australia’s food safety reputation for livestock. Producers use the NVD to declare necessary and valuable information about the food safety status of the livestock being sold. Buyers rely on the NVD for accurate information on the livestock purchased and processors rely on the information to ensure only the safest food enters our food chain.

The Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) NVD’s, are purchased from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA). The NVD is underpinned by the LPA program, a quality assurance program, and managed by SAFEMEAT, which is an industry and government partnership responsible for managing meat safety and hygiene issues. SAFEMEAT’s NVD Working Group consists of representatives from all industry sectors and government.

NVD Requirements

Producers consigning cattle including bobby calves to a Victorian saleyard, scales or abattoir, or when selling cattle privately, must provide a correctly completed NVD form on which is recorded the PIC of the property from which the cattle were dispatched. Victorian legislation does not specify the version of the NVD that must be used however potential buyers may prefer that cattle be accompanied by an LPA NVD.


If cattle are being agisted on another property with a different PIC, it is recommended that the cattle be accompanied by an NVD if they are no longer in the care of the owner.

If the cattle are remaining in the care of the owner an NVD obviously would not be necessary, however the cattle would need to be transferred on the NLIS Database.

For more information on when you have to notify the NLIS Database of cattle movements please refer to the Agnote ‘NLIS Requirements on Agisted and/or Leased Land’.

Cattle Consigned to Knackeries

Cattle being dispatched to a knackery do not need to be accompanied by an NVD, however the PIC of last residence must still be provided to the knackery operator. All cattle except dead bobby calves dispatched from a Victorian property to a knackery must be NLIS ear tagged or have an NLIS approved rumen bolus. Dead bobby calves can be identified with a bobby calf ear tag, tail tag or NLIS device before being picked up to go to a knackery.


MLA has developed the e-DEC, which is a cheaper electronic alternative than traditional NVD’s for producers. The e-DEC allows producers to email NVDs directly to their buyers and print out NVDs from their computer. This means that producers are able to save both money and time by using the e-DEC.

The e-DEC system can only be used by persons or organisations that hold a current State issued Property Identification Code (PIC) and are fully accredited in LPA Level 1 or 2. This means that you will need your LPA User Number. The typical persons or organisations that will use the e-DEC system are producers and feedlots.

Emergency NVDs

Emergency NVDs are available to agents and saleyards to be used in circumstances where a printed NVD is not available to a vendor. Emergency NVDs can only be printed as an LPA NVD and are available for cattle, sheep and goats. To ensure that these are LPA NVD/Waybills, agents and saleyards need to obtain the LPA number of their clients and enter it before printing an emergency NVD.

Tail Tagging Requirements

Since 3rdApril 2006, transaction tags such as tail tags are no longer required to be attached to cattle that are being consigned to a Victorian saleyard, scales or abattoir, provided the cattle carry an NLIS Device and are accompanied by a correctly completed NVD.

AQIS requires that EU eligible cattle consigned to an EU accredited saleyard or directly to an EU export abattoir be identified with a lime-green tail tag, and be accompanied with the lime green EU vendor declaration. This requirement may be reviewed in the future. In addition, cattle from properties that carry a T1, T2, T3 or T4 status under the National Organochlorine Residue Minimisation (NORM) program are required to be tagged with a red tail tag and must also have a correctly completed NVD. This is to assist processors identify these cattle for testing purposes.

Under Victorian law, producers declare cattle to be ‘HGP Free’ by answering ‘No’ to Question 1 on their National Vendor Declaration (NVD) forms. Pink tag tails have no legal significance in Victoria in relation to whether cattle are ‘HGP Free’ or not.

Stock agents and scales operators are required to attach a blue tail tag or NLIS Post-breeder Tag issued for use at the saleyard or scales to the cattle that they sell if the cattle are carrying a non-functioning NLIS Device. Tagging must occur before the cattle leave the yards. All cattle fitted with a blue tail tag or NLIS Post-breeder Tag will lose their lifetime traceable status.

Are Tail Tags Still Available?

Tail tags will continue to be available through DPI for the foreseeable future. If you require tail tags, call DPI’s toll- free Helpline on 1800 678 779. You can also order tail tags on-line by going to the DPI website at and following the prompts to Livestock Tags On-line. You will need to enter your PIC to be able to place an order for tags.

MLA NVD Information

MLA NVD Information page

Ordering NVDs

Cattle producers will receive an initial 10 free LPA NVD Waybills, after that the LPA NVD Waybill will cost $25 (plus GST) per book of 20.

For more information visit the MLA website on, or call the MLA LPA Helpline on 1800 683 111.

Where can I find more information?

Department of Primary Industries NLIS Extension Team

Name Phone Email
Kath McCue 03 5561 9902
Erica Schelfhorst 03 5430 4560
Fiona Baker 03 5624 2234
Gary McLarty 03 5735 4344
Annemaree Docking 03 5430 4808
Kellyanne    Semple 03 5430 4302

General Information

The following are useful contacts for further information:

Specific NLIS Database Queries for the NLIS Database Helpdesk
NLIS Database Helpdesk: 1800 654 743

To Access the NLIS Database

NLIS Queries and tag orders in Victoria
For the NLIS in Victoria call DPI’s NLIS Helpline on 1800 678 779 during business hours.

DPI Website

NLIS Workshops
To attend a workshop on NLIS, contact one of the NLIS extension team.

Ordering NLIS Devices Online
You can now order NLIS devices on-line using a credit card by going to the DPI website and following the prompts to Livestock Tags Online.


This Information Note was originally developed by Daniel Gilmour and Annemaree Docking, Bendigo and was previously published in October 2006.