FEEDBACK on the proposed removal of an ear tagging exemption for dairy goats is being sought by the Goat Industry Council of Australia as the body worked to improve traceability nationally.
The council is encouraging feedback and comment from dairy goat producers by March 15 this year on the removal of the National Livestock Identification System tagging exemption.
The NLIS sheep and goat system was introduced on January 1 2006; however, under the NLIS Sheep & Goats National Business Rules, dairy goats have been exempt from tagging for property-to-property movements, although requirements vary between the states and territories.
GICA president Rick Gates said the council is proposing the removal of the exemption and remains firmly committed to strengthening the current NLIS sheep and goat traceability system.
“GICA has identified a number of opportunities to improve the visual NLIS traceability program across the goat industry.
“GICA, with input from the Dairy Goat Society of Australia (DGSA), commissioned a desktop study on NLIS Tagging Options for Australian Dairy Goats,” Mr Gates said.
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The desktop study included a review of published literature and a survey of tagging procedures from four large-scale goat dairies operating in Australia, with a collective total of over 6300 goats tagged.
The survey results suggested that a successful tag retention rate with minimal or no infection, may be achieved in dairy goats if the following procedures are implemented:
- An appropriate device is used (such as the Allflex Mini visual tag or the Allflex Lightweight RFID tag);
- The tag is clean and is applied in a clean environment;
- Disinfectant is used on the tag and applicator;
- The tag is inserted in the correct position of the ear; and
- Ongoing monitoring of tag retention rates and management of causes of loss.
Mr Gates said the desktop study indicated there was no reason why dairy goats could not be tagged.
“We may have overlooked something in the desktop study, there might be something there that we haven’t tough of, but at this stage it looks like there is no reason why they can’t be tagged.”
GICA said the NLIS is Australia’s system for identifying and tracing sheep and goats for biosecurity, food safety, product integrity and market access purposes. Mr Gates said dairy goats are normally run in high rainfall areas and the council had cited the sector as a ‘high risk industry” for chemical residues and disease outbreak.
“They are the two reasons why we have traceability.”
Rangeland goat traceability regulations tightened
Mr Gates said the industry had also tightened regulations for rangeland goat movements in February last year, although there were tagging exemptions for these goats transported direct to slaughter or via a registered depot.
“We’ve not only looked at dairy goats, we’ve tightened up the rangeland goat exemption through the depots.
“The auditing and reporting process the depots are undergoing at the moment is quite rigorous.”
There are 25 registered depots in New South Wales and six in Queensland and several in South Australia, he said.
These are audited annually by Livestock Production Assurance and regularly by the state jurisdictions, with incoming and outgoing goat movements uploaded within 48 hours.
“The depots are being treated like saleyards.”
Apart from the current dairy goat tagging exemption, all other farmed goats are required to be tagged under NLIS regulations.
To have your say on the dairy goat tagging consultation plan and desktop study visit the GICA website www.gica.com.au.
Submissions are due by March 15 2017 via [email protected].