What you need to know about NSW sheep and goat mandatory transition to eID

3 July 2024
The transition to individual electronic identification (eID) for sheep and goats has started in NSW.  Pic: AgriShots
An article by  Alex McLaughlin

The transition to individual electronic identification (eID) for sheep and goats has started in NSW.  

As the largest sheep and goat producing state in Australia, with state sheep numbers reaching 24.6 million head in the 2021-22 year, accurate and timely traceability is crucial for a quick response to disease or residue incidents and for maintaining consumer confidence.  

The process is being phased in with mandatory eID for sheep and farmed goats leaving properties in NSW required by January 1, 2027. 

It’s an enhancement to the existing mob-based system as part of the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS). 

This will mean a change from a visual tag for sheep and goats, and the mob-based traceability system to one where an individual animal can be tracked and traced using eID tags, as is currently in place for cattle. 

Director of Sheep and Goat Traceability at NSW DPI, Kiowa Fenner, believes now is the time for producers to start thinking about these key dates, understand their responsibilities and know the equipment they may need to adjust to the changes. 

Mrs Fenner is experienced in biosecurity matters, with her previous position within the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment and Biosecurity Tasmania.  

Serving for 20 years across agriculture, invasive species management and biosecurity projects, she than became the Coordinator of Biosecurity & Emergency Management. 

In November 2022, she made the shift to Orange taking on the role of leading the implementation of mandatory sheep and goat eID in NSW.  

Mrs Fenner believes biosecurity, market access and exports are the catalysts driving the phasing in of electronic identification of Australian livestock.  

“I think one of the other things that we've really seen is the importance with market exports, and being able to ensure that we can maintain our clean and green image for market access,” she said. 

“This allows us to have that paddock to plate proof, be your accreditation, ensuring that we can do it for those export markets as well.” 

Mrs Fenner believes Australia is leading the way when it comes to traceability of paddock to plate and being able to demonstrate our clean product and the adoption to the eID system will further help advance Australia’s red meat industry. 

Mrs Fenner said the eID implementation has had some challenges. However, people had started to embrace the opportunity that comes with electronic identification in livestock management. 

“The sentiment has really changed in recent months. People are now realising the cattle industry has had to do it now for 20 years,” she said. 

“They've also been doing it in Victoria since 2017. Now that people know that it's here, we're getting more people starting to embrace how they'll be able to use it as a benefit.” 

Tag discount 

The NSW Government has announced that NSW sheep and goat producers will benefit from an eID tag discount applied to eligible eID devices, purchased between November 1, 2024 to October 31, 2025. 

The $0.76 discount per tag will be applied at the point of sale, arranged directly with device manufacturers of the NLIS-accredited device, minimising paperwork for producers. 

The discount will assist farmers as the sheep and goat industry transitions to the use of eID tags from January 1, 2025. 

Key dates for livestock owners in NSW 

The national deadline for full eID implementation is set for 2025, NSW is adopting a more gradual approach. 

Mandatory processor eID scanning and uploading has commenced from June 30, 2024. 

Mandatory tagging with eID for all sheep and farmed goats born from this date, prior to leaving the property of birth will occur from January 1, 2025.  

All eIDs on sheep and farmed goats moved between properties must be recorded and the movement uploaded in the NLIS database within 48hours of their movement.  

Mandatory eIDs required for all sheep and farmed goats prior to leaving any property will occur from January 1, 2027. 

Animals that stay on the same property for their lifetime do not need to be tagged with an eID.  

How will this impact sales through AuctionsPlus? 

This new requirement will have no impact on purchasing or selling sheep through AuctionsPlus, as the online selling platform is not involved with the transfer of stock on the NLIS database.  

However, assessors can nominate in their assessment if they are willing to provide this service, and any associated cost. This will be reliant on the buyer requesting the service and we suggest confirming this in writing. 

“It's really important to realise that as the purchaser, it is their responsibility to ensure that the livestock are moved on to their property, so the transactions moved on,” Mrs Fenner said. 


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