VICTORIA’S Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford has tagged some of the first Autumn lambs of the season to highlight the mandatory use of electronic ear tags in all 2017-drop lambs and goat kids in the state.
Mr Pulford said the electronic tagging of sheep and goats in Victoria is one of the biggest reforms to the agricultural industry.
The implementation of an electronic National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) for sheep and goats was announced by Ms Pulford last year with a $17 million industry and farmer support package.
The mandatory use of electronic tags came into effect on January 1 this year, with lambs and kids born in Victoria on or after this date requiring an electronic tag before leaving the property of birth.
The minister visited the Molesworth family’s property just outside of Ballan to help electronically tag some stud Poll Dorset lambs.
James Molesworth and his father John run a large commercial and stud sheep operation at Morrisons. Electronic tagging is new technology to them, but they are keen to explore how it can be used to increase traceability across the supply chain.
“We’ve got a stud, so it will help our recording and things.”
Mr Molesworth said he appreciated the need to introduce electronic tagging of sheep and goats for biosecurity reasons, having witnessed the start of Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak and the burning of livestock in England in 2001.
“It would be a pretty big thing and it would knock the industry.”
He hoped the other states, especially South Australia and New South Wales, also opted to mandate electronic tagging of sheep and goats, for the benefit of sheep and lamb trading by producers.
“It would be beneficial if those other two states (South Australia and New South Wales) got on board.”
Ms Pulford said electronic identification will help protect Victoria’s sheep and goat industries and our access to important export markets.
“This is game-changing technology and Victorian farmers are proudly leading the way.”
“It’s great to see farmers like James getting on board with the roll out and taking advantage of the benefits of electronic ID.”
Throughout April, farmers from all over the state have attended on-farm workshops to learn how to take tagging to the next level, with independent experts demonstrating the potential of electronic ID for flock management, productivity improvements and profit maximisation.
Every producer has access to cost-neutral tags for the first twelve months for their 2017 lambs and kids, with tags available from 35 cents each. Cost-neutral tag prices for 2018 will be announced soon.
Farmers who are keen to be early adopters, and embrace additional on-farm benefits are being encouraged to apply for grants to purchase optional equipment like readers and purpose built weighing systems. Funding is available across the supply chain to assist with the transition to the electronic system.
Application forms for equipment grants are available at www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/sheepEID or by calling 1800 678 779 during business hours. Further information is available at www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/sheepEID.
Source: Agriculture Victoria.