ELECTRONIC sheep and goat ear tag sales have increased in Victoria with the introduction of a new protocol enabling rural distributors to order tags through the State Government’s online service.
Agriculture Victoria established the new protocol a few weeks ago enabling rural distributors to order cost-neutral electronic National Livestock Identification System sheep and goat tags for their producer clients.
Agriculture Victoria’s director of sheep electronic identification Warren Straw said not all producers are comfortable ordering tags online and have a relationship with their rural distributor.
“We wanted to make sure we provided that opportunity as much as we could and we also wanted to make sure it was done in a way that didn’t compromise any of the biosecurity standards or our database.”
Rural distributors can now complete the online ordering process for sheep and goat producers, ideally with the farmer sitting next to them, he said.
“It has certainly boosted the convenience of uptake, it just caters for different people’s needs.”
White year-of-birth cost-neutral EID tags are available direct from the online service at 35-52 cents, with the cheapest non cost-neutral but still subsidised tags in different colours now down to 70 cents, Mr Straw said.
“The market forces are working and have worked and we have good quality NLIS-approved tags on the market in Victoria that no other state can really match.”
Mr Straw did not know if the rural distributor-sourced tags were more expensive for producers. Any charges for the ordering service need to be arranged between distributors and their clients and are separate to Agriculture Victoria charges.
“They order for the client at the online price and if they want to pass on an extra charge that will be their commercial decision.”
With Victorian sheep and goat producers required to tag any lambs or kids born after January 1 this year as the state’s transition to mandatory EID continues, Mr Straw said the new protocol had been popular.
“Since it has been there, we’ve had about 12 percent of tags ordered through it – 12pc from a standing start is a pretty good result.
“We are getting about 170,000 tags order per week now and it will start to ramp up now into the autumn lambing.”
The number of electronic tags ordered has risen from 20,000-30,000 per week earlier in the year.
Questions regarding the new protocol can be directed to Agriculture Victoria’s NLIS toll-free Helpline on 1800 678 779 during office hours.