ELECTRONIC tagging requirements will increase for Victorian producers in the New Year as planned.
Any sheep or goat born after January 1, and brought onto a Victorian property, will have to be tagged with a post-breeder electronic National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) tag before being sold on.
This will mean Victorian backgrounders, traders, restockers or lotfeeders purchasing stock from over the border will need to eartag them again before on-selling.
Victoria’s Sheep Electronic Identification director Michael Bretherton said since August 2016 more than 5.7 million sheep and goats have been scanned at saleyards or abattoirs and uploaded to the NLIS database.
“There are currently more sheep movements being registered per week on the NLIS database than the movements reported by all cattle saleyards throughout Australia combined and nothing on the scale of what is now occurring routinely in Victorian saleyards has been done before anywhere in the world,” Mr Bretherton said.
He added that during peak prime lamb season in November, more than 140,000 sheep and goats were being scanned in Victorian saleyards per week, with Hamilton scanning and uploading 51,000 sheep in just one day.
Victorian Farmers Federation Livestock president Leonard Vallance said the transition to electronic identification had been “pretty seamless” so far, and this was just another step in the five-year roll out.
“I can’t see any reason why there would be any stumbles at this stage - other states have been visiting to see how saleyards and abattoirs operate the system and in my conversations with them they were fine with it,” Mr Vallance said.
“I don’t understand why they can’t get on board and protect our product integrity.
“The former minister Jaala Pulford has repeatedly written to other state ministers and offered them to come onboard with Victorian tag tender system and none have taken up the offer…and it is worth noting that tag tender system works in both the cattle and sheep system, and in cattle the (tag price) difference between other states is a substantial economic benefit to the farmers.”
Electronic NLIS sheep tags will be available at subsidised prices 55 cents per tag from January 1 next year, up from the 2018 price of 45c.
Sheep Producers Australia was unavailable for comment, but recently toured Victoria to see the electronic NLIS system in use, and reported upon return that “SPA’s policy remains that it supports the voluntary uptake of eID technology”.
It also said “there was some scepticism when the new system was implemented, but Victorian saleyards have adapted and are making it work for them…all Victorian saleyards are currently reading close to 100 per cent of electronic NLIS tags”.
“Abattoir scanning rates have been reported to range from 93pc to 99.6pc, with routine uploading by plants of kill files to the NLIS database.”
Colac processor, Australian Lamb Company livestock manager Ben Verrall said while there had been some minor issues to start with, the eID system had rolled out well.
“I am hoping the rest of the states will jump on board, I think the saleyard guys were most concerned but hearing from agents in yards that are handling it is working fine,” Mr Verrall said.
“The system is working well; let’s hope we never have to rely on it – and we are hoping it can go national now we are demonstrating it can work.”
NSW Farmers was contacted for comment about the next phase of the rollout.