MANDATORY Victorian electronic sheep and goat ear tag use and online workshops have boosted overall National Livestock Identification System compliance, Meat & Livestock Australia has reported.
A series of online workshops delivered by MLA, Integrity Systems Company and Agriculture Victoria, have upskilled producers in managing their NLIS accounts and livestock transfers on the NLIS database.
NLIS is Australia’s system for the identification and traceability of cattle, sheep and goats, and is managed by Integrity Systems Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MLA.
MLA said Australian livestock producers continued to record high compliance rates to the NLIS, achieving a compliance rate of 96.04 percent in 2018-19, exceeding the industry’s key performance indicator figure of 95.75pc.
NLIS data for 2018-19 showed cattle movements increased by 9pc to 23.4 million, while NLIS sheep mob movements decreased by 8pc to 38.3 million and goat mob movements decreased by 22pc to 2.5 million.
Individual NLIS sheep movements increased 175pc to 11 million and individual goat movements increased 40pc to 7751. This substantial increase was a result of the implementation of mandatory electronic identification and individual movement recording for sheep and goats in Victoria.
MLA said the online sessions equipped producers with the skills needed to use the NLIS database dashboard and stepped them through running reports and completing livestock transfers.
Interactive workshops work
Agriculture Victoria Livestock Extension Officer, Greg Ferrier, said the interactive nature of the workshops enabled producers to ask questions as elements of the database were explained and demonstrated, finely tuning the sessions to the needs of the participants.
“Demonstrations provided emphasis on the requirements for NLIS account holders to ensure, for example, that the database was notified if Victorian livestock were moved on to a Property Identification Code (PIC) within two working days of arrival on the PIC,” he said.
Important to check state requirements
ISC chief executive officer, Dr Jane Weatherley, said with the time frame requirements for completing livestock transfers on the NLIS database varying between jurisdictions, it is important for producers to check the requirements for their state or territory.
“Australia’s effective traceability system underpins our reputation for producing safe, high quality livestock products for both domestic and export markets.
“Australia exports 71pc of total beef and veal production, 61pc of total lamb production, 96pc of total mutton production and just over 90pc of goat meat production,” Dr Weatherley said.
“The effectiveness of our traceability system depends on producers complying with the NLIS requirements and ensuring livestock identification and movement documentation are correct.
“By meeting traceability requirements, we’re providing guarantees around stock health and verifying stock can meet market requirements, producing a product that is valued and trusted by customers.”
MLA said the NLIS combines three elements to enable the lifetime traceability of animals: an animal identifier (visual or electronic ear tag known as a device); identification of a physical location by means of Property Identification Code (PIC) and a web-accessible database to store and correlate movement data and associated details.
“As animals are bought, sold and moved along the supply chain, they must be tagged with an NLIS-accredited tag or device, and each movement they make with a different PIC should be recorded on the NLIS database,” Dr Weatherley said.
“This allows us to illustrate to our customers that we have integrity systems in place to verify the traceability and safety of the product they’re receiving, representing a key underpinning of our $18.4 billion industry.”
NLIS accounts are free to open and operate. Resources to help producers comply with NLIS requirements are available here.