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NLIS (Sheep & Goats) is Australia’s system for the identification and tracing of sheep, lambs and farmed goats.

First edition February 2009

Download the PDF version of this document: NLIS (Sheep & Goats) is Australia’s system for the identification and tracing of sheep, lambs and farmed goats

NLIS (Sheep & Goats) requirements

The sheep and goat industries, with the support of State and Commonwealth Governments, introduced the NLIS (Sheep & Goats) on 1 January 2006.

NLIS (Sheep & Goats) uses visually readable, or electronic ear tags printed with a Property Identification Code (PIC), complemented by National Vendor Declarations (NVDs) supplied by consignors, for identification and tracking purposes.

NLIS (Sheep & Goats) requirements, as of 1 January 2009, are summarised below:

  • All properties running sheep or farmed goats must have a Property Identification Code (PIC).
  • Consignors must provide an NVD when dispatching sheep or goats of any age to a saleyard, abattoir or another property (with a different PIC).
  • All sheep and farmed goats must be identified with an NLIS (Sheep) Breeder Tag before being dispatched to a saleyard, abattoir or to another property with a different PIC.
  • NVDs supplied by consignors must be retained for seven years.
  • Consignors of sheep and farmed goats that are already tagged with an NLIS (Sheep) Tag must either record on their NVD all PICs printed on the NLIS (Sheep) Tags attached to their stock, or attach a pink NLIS (Sheep) Post-breeder Tag to each animal. Requirements in relation to non-vendor bred sheep are under review nationally, and may change on 1 July 2009.

How do I obtain a PIC?

Property Identification Codes (PIC) in Victoria are in the format ‘3ABCD123’. If you run cattle or have obtained Livestock Production Assurance NVD books, you most probably already have a PIC.

If you are unsure, or need to obtain a PIC, call DPI’s NLIS Helpline on 1800 678 779 during office hours. Before calling ensure that you have the Council Rate Assessment Number/s printed on your Rate Notice/s for all parcels of land associated with your property.

How do I order tags?

Visual NLIS (Sheep) Tags are not ordered through DPI.

To obtain NLIS (Sheep) Tags contact your preferred tag supplier or rural merchandise outlet. A list of NLIS (Sheep) Tag suppliers is available at www.dpi.vic.gov.au/nlis, or can be obtained by calling DPI’s Helpline on 1800 678 779.

Sheep Breeder Tags must be printed with the PIC of the property on which they are used and with the NLIS logo. Producers can if they wish print their name, property name or a serial number on NLIS tags.

Electronic NLIS (Sheep) Tags are ordered through the Department of Primary Industries via an online service. Please visit the DPI website www.dpi.vic.gov.au/nlis and follow the links to “order sheep & goat tags online”.

Can I purchase electronic NLIS (Sheep & Goats) devices?

Yes, an approved electronic NLIS (Sheep) tag can be used in place of a visual NLIS (Sheep) tag.These tags can be ordered through the Department of Primary Industries website www.dpi.vic.gov.au/nlis following the links to “order sheep & goat tags online”.

NLIS (Sheep & Goats) ear tags

Visual NLIS (Sheep) Breeder Tags are colour coded for year of birth. They must be used to identify sheep and goats that are still on their property of birth. Use by sheep and goat breeders of the correct year of birth colour is strongly recommended.The colours for NLIS (Sheep) Tags are listed below.

Visual NLIS (Sheep) Post-breeder Tags are pink and can be used to identify sheep and goats no longer on the property on which they were born as well as introduced animals that have lost their original Sheep Breeder Tag.

Tag colour   Year of birth
NLIS (Sheep) Breeder Tags
Yellow Image: Yellow tag 2005
Red Image: Red tag 2006
Sky blue Image: Sky blue tag 2007
Black Image: Black tag 2008
White Image: White tag 2009
Orange Image: Orange tag 2010
Light green Image: Light Green tag 2011
Purple Image: Purple tag 2012
NLIS (Sheep) Post-breeder Tags
Pink Image: Pink Post-Breeder tag  

 

Image: Yellow and pink ear tagsConsignors selling sheep and goats that are already NLIS identified have the choice of recording on their NVD all PICs printed on the NLIS Tags attached to animals in the consignment, or alternatively identifying each animal with an NLIS (Sheep) Post-breeder Tag and recording the PIC printed on this tag on their NVD.

For sheep & goats identified with electronic NLIS (Sheep) tags, producers can email details of the movement to nlis.sheep@dpi.vic.gov.au. For more details on electronic NLIS (Sheep) tags and the procedures for providing movement details please refer to the DPI website www.dpi.vic.gov.au/nlis and follow the links to NLIS sheep & goats.

Visual NLIS (Sheep) Tags can be attached to either the right or left ear. Electronic NLIS (Sheep) Tags must be attached to the left (near side) ear.

Electronic NLIS (Sheep) Tags are either yellow – Breeder tags or Pink – Post-Breeder tags. Yellow tags are used to identify sheep & goats born on your property and Post-Breeder tags are used to identify sheep & goats introduced to your property. It is important to remember not to attach a second Electronic NLIS (Sheep) tag if one is already attached to a sheep or goat.

Sheep that are vaccinated against OJD must be tagged with an NLIS tag on which is printed a capital 'V' in a circle on the opposite side of the tag to the PIC and NLIS logo.

 

Image: Sheep with the correct placement of the ear tag

NLIS (Sheep & Goats) legislation

NLIS (Sheep & Goats) requirements are underpinned by State legislation.This includes NVD requirements, and tagging requirements for all sheep and goats.

As of 1 January 2009 new legislation came in to force that requires all sheep & farmed goats to be tagged with an approved NLIS device regardless of age, before dispatch to a saleyard, abattoir, or another property with a different PIC number.

Through consultation with industry and Government the tagging exemption for sheep & farmed goats consigned to an abattoir on an ‘over the hooks’ (OTH) basis has now also been removed.

With national agreement and due to the high incidence of infection associated with tagging dairy goats, an exemption for goats of the Saanen, British Alpine,Toggenburg, Anglo Nubian, Melaan, or Australian Brown breeds is currently in place. Feral goats consigned directly from property of capture to an abattoir will remain exempt from the tagging requirements. Please note that these animals are still required to be accompanied by a National Vendor Declaration.

Once an NLIS (Sheep) Tag (visual or electronic) is attached to sheep or goats it must not be removed until the animal is processed in an abattoir or knackery.

Visually readable and electronic NLIS (Sheep) Tags issued for use on one property cannot be used to identify sheep and goats located on another property (with a different PIC).

Visually readable and electronic NLIS (Sheep) Tags cannot be sold, given away or reused.

NLIS Cattle Tags must not be attached to sheep or goats.

National Vendor Declaration (NVD) forms

Sheep and goat producers who have a valid PIC can obtain Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) NVDs by phoning the LPA helpline on 1800 683 111 during office hours.

Producers can if they wish use earlier NVD editions or equivalent documents, although such forms may not be acceptable to some buyers.

Why is the NLIS (Sheep & Goats) needed?

The NLIS (Sheep & Goats) is needed to enhance Australia’s ability to quickly and successfully contain a major food safety or disease incident, and to help maintain access to key export markets.

The NLIS (Sheep & Goats) is being progressively implemented by Victoria's sheep and goat industries in partnership with the Victorian Government. All States/ Territories have agreed to progressively implement the NLIS (Sheep & Goats).

Where can I get more information about the NLIS (Sheep & Goats)?

For further information, call DPI’s toll-free Helpline on 1800 678 779 during office hours, or visit DPI’s website at www.dpi.vic.gov.au/nlis

ISBN 978-1-74217-355-9 (print) ISBN 978-1-74217-356-6 (online)