NLIS for Sheep & Goats

The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS Sheep & Goats) has been developed with the input of a wide cross section of the sheep and goat industries, to maintain and improve access to export markets by strengthening the integrity of our product in the supply chain. Consumers, world wide, are demanding greater accountability in the production of food from the paddock to the plate.


NLIS will also enhance traceback during any animal health (exotic disease) or residue incident potentially saving valuable time and a lot of expense in responding effectively to such a crisis.


How Does the System Work?

The NLIS Sheep & Goats uses visually readable ear tags to permanently identify sheep and lambs along side the keeping of vendor declarations and movement records to track the animals.
  • Each ear tag will contain the Property Identification Code (PIC) of the property where the tag has been applied and the National Livestock Identification (NLIS) logo.
  • Other property management information (ie serial numbers etc.) can also be included on the opposite side of tags.
  • More than one NLIS Sheep or Goat* ear tag may be applied to an individual sheep if it passes through several owners.
The attachment of NLIS Sheep or Goat* ear tags, coupled with the use of the Vendor Declarations, will provide the basis for recording the complete history of the movement of sheep and goats.


Phase-In of NLIS for Sheep and Goats*

Initially all sheep born from 1 January 2006 had to be NLIS identified before they move from properties - for any reason.

Since 1 January 2009, ALL sheep will be required to be NLIS identified when they leave the property.

Since January 2011, all goats* are required to be NLIS identified when they leave the property.

In addition to the ear tags, a vendor declaration providing a minimum of information to the purchaser will be required for all transactions of sheep or goats irrespective of their age. Completion of a current national Vendor declaration will fulfil this requirement.

The requirements are:
  • All properties running sheep or goats must have a Property Identification Code (PIC).
  • All sheep and goats must be identified with an NLIS Sheep Breeder Tag before being dispatched to a saleyard or to another property.
  • Consignors must provide a Vendor Declaration (ie NVD) when dispatching sheep or goats of any age to a saleyard, abattoir or another property with a different PIC and this must be retained for 7 years. (The current national vendor declaration is the LPA NVD which can be ordered by phoning 1800 683 111 - You will need to provide your PIC when ordering).
  • Consignors of sheep and goats* that are already tagged with a NLIS Sheep or Goat* Tag must, either record on their Vendor Declaration all the different PIC's printed on the NLIS Sheep or Goat tags attached to the consigned stock, or attach a pink NLIS Sheep or Goat* Post-breeder Tag to each animal and record your PIC on the Vendor Declaration.

* Dairy goats that are being consigned to another property other than to a saleyard or sale or to an abattoir currently do not have to be NLIS identified. (Note:this exemption is an interim measure pending the determination of a suitable form of permanent identification for dairy goats).

Types of NLIS Sheep and Goat devices

Most commonly used sheep and goat ear tags have been authorised to be used in the System. Ear tags are only read visually, unlike the NLIS System for cattle which utilises electronic identification. Electronically read NLIS Sheep & Goat tags are also becoming available for people wanting to take advantage of the management opportunities they provide however, they are only registered as NLIS Sheep & Goat tags on the basis of the visual information recorded on them.

There are two general categories of tags:

1. Sheep or Goat Breeder Tags
Must be applied on the property of birth before sheep or goats are moved to a new property.

The colour of the tags should match the "colour of the year" in which the sheep or goat was born. The "colour of the year" changes each year in an eight year rotating pattern. The Tasmanian NLIS Advisory Committee has indicated the intention to make the "colour of the year" tag mandatory for all sheep born from 1 January 2009.
Sheep NLIS identification tag - approved year of  birth colour system. The year of birth colour system has eight colours. The colours are black, white, orange, light green, purple, yellow, red and sky blue, in that order.

Sheep NLIS identification tag - approved year of birth colour system. The year of birth colour system has eight colours. The colours are black, white, orange, light green, purple, yellow, red and sky blue, in that order. Each colour designates a year on a rolling cycle starting with the colour black and ending with sky blue, and then returning to black. Pink is used for post-breeder tags to show that sheep have been brought onto the property, usually from a different owner.


2. Sheep or Goat Post Breeder Tags
  • Applied to sheep or goats that are no longer on their property of birth.
  • The colour of the tags must be pink.
  • May be applied to sheep or goats already identified with permanent identification devices.

What additional regulations do I have to meet?

Because NLIS for Sheep and Goats provides authorised permanent identification for sheep it is backed up by legislation to ensure that it is not misused.

The following additional conditions must be followed when using NLIS Sheep ear tags:
  • NLIS Sheep ear tags must be attached to the right ear of male sheep and the left ear of female sheep, this being the opposite ear to the registered ear mark.
  • The person in charge must keep records of all NLIS Sheep or Goat ear tags that are lost, destroyed, stolen or disposed of.
Written authorisation from the Registrar of Brands is required to:
  1. remove a NLIS Sheep or Goat ear tag.
  2. alter a NLIS Sheep or Goat ear tag.
  3. apply a NLIS Sheep or Goat ear tag on premises other than one corresponding to the property identification code printed on the device.
  4. reuse devices.
  5. destroy a permanent identification device unless it is destroyed with the animal.
It is illegal to remove a NLIS tag without first receiving permission to do so from the Registrar of Brands.

Penalties of up to $26,000 can be incurred for the misuse of NLIS tags. Please read the Conditions of Use for Permanent Identification Devices in Sheep and Goats.

How do I obtain NLIS Sheep or Goat Tags?

You can order NLIS Sheep or Goat ear tags by completing a DPIPWE Application Form and a NLIS Sheep and Goat Tag Order Form (see Forms). These forms are also available from livestock or rural merchandising agents. An information sheet should also be available to help with completing the forms.

Your livestock or rural merchandising agent must complete a section of the NLIS Sheep and Goat Tag Order Form before both completed forms are forwarded to the Registrar of Brands. The Registrar of Brands checks the forms and sends the authorised order to the tag manufacturer, who then delivers the NLIS Sheep and Goat tags to the purchaser. Payment is made through your livestock or rural merchandising agent.

For all Sheep and Goats

If the sheep or goats were born on the property you will need to: (The current National Vendor Declaration is the LPA NVD which can be ordered by phoning 1800 683 111 - You will need to provide your PIC when ordering).

If the sheep were NOT born on the property you will need to:
  • Make sure that you have a Property Identification Code
  • The sheep should already be NLIS identified, however you will need to NLIS identify any that have lost their NLIS tags with pink post breeder NLIS tags registered to your property. (see Forms)
  • EITHER record all the different PICs printed on the NLIS Sheep or Goat tags attached to the consigned stock on a Vendor Declaration, OR attach a pink NLIS Sheep or Goat Post-breeder Tag to each animal and record your PIC on the Vendor Declaration.

Contact

NLIS Forms and Requests
GPO Box 44
Hobart TAS 7001
Phone: 1300 368 550
Fax: 03 6173 0308
Email: nlis.tas@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

Registrar of Animal Brands
Andrea Clark
Product Integrity Branch
GPO Box 44
Hobart TAS 7000
Phone: 03 6165 3240
Fax: 03 6173 0308
Email: Andrea.Clark@dpipwe.tas.gov.au