Launched in November last year, the new system began with the requirement that every sheep and most breeds of goats born in Victoria from January 1, 2017 must be tagged with an electronic National Livestock Identification System sheep tag before leaving the animal’s property of birth.
Speaking today at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo, Warren Straw, director of sheep EID with Biosecurity in Agriculture Victoria, advised the new system is being introduced via a staged transition and to date, more than six million electronic NLIS sheep tags have been ordered.
“With the funding assistance available to sheep producers, the tag costs are as low as 35 cents for ‘cost neutral’ tags, which is similar to the cost of non-electronic NLIS sheep tags,” Straw said.
“And while co-funded producer grants for optional equipment are now fully subscribed, producers can still purchase electronic NLIS sheep tags at cost-neutral prices. They can also continue to access extension and information about how to use electronic tags to help with flock management decisions.”
Funding remains available for most industry sectors, including livestock agents, show societies, scanning contractors and livestock transporters, until 31st of December 2017 or when available funds are fully committed.
Importantly, the transition package is also supporting the planning and installation of required infrastructure in Victorian saleyards, abattoirs and knackeries. Abattoirs begin mandatory scanning and uploading to the national database from 31 December 2017 and saleyards from 31 March 2018.
Straw pointed out the key benefits of the electronic identification system for sheep and goats.
“Ultimately the industry as a whole will benefit by protecting and growing market access which is underpinned by efficient and effective traceability.”
The Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Charles Milne, will be presenting inside the Careers and Tech Hub at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show which runs until Sunday. Also presenting for Agriculture Victoria is consultant Nathan Scott, about using EID for better on-farm decision making.
Straw and other members of Agriculture Victoria will be on hand at the show to talk to producers about the transition to an electronic system.
Sheep producers in Victoria will have a couple of prime opportunities to catch up with the latest in sheep EID in coming months, including at Sheepvention, held in Hamilton in the first week of August.
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