Lamb Production

Victoria’s Agriculture Minister tags one for the team at Ballan

Sheep Central May 15, 2017

Victorian Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford gets some help from Corey Golding to put an EID ear tag in a lamb today.

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 or by calling 1800 678 779 during business hours. Further information is available at

Source: Agriculture Victoria.


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  1. Gerard Keogh, May 17, 2017

    We also tagged calves at birth with Allflex tags and are now selling old cows. We are having to replace around 50 percent of the tags.
    I would think it commonsense to investigate and solve cattle NLIS problems before introducing electronic tagging of sheep.

  2. Brad Bellinger, May 16, 2017

    A NSW producer rang me Friday who produces around 10,000 calves per year. He is now selling 10 year-old cows that were tagged as calves, 52 percent had lost their tags. The tag manufacturer has offered to replace the tags due to the faults in the tags. The backs had frayed and fallen off. All of these cattle had lost their lifetime traceability. Electronic tagging as a means of accurate whole of life traceability is a sham — A billion dollar sham.
    If RFID is a means of stopping the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease, could the minister help tag the estimated 24 million wild pigs roaming the country and unknown number of wild deer.
    A full parliamentary enquiry should be held into the mandating of electronic tags in cattle, including the cost, who benefited from it and why its efficacy was not property investigated.
    Isolate Victoria as a high cost producer of lamb. I would suggest that the minister loosen her purse strings, as $17 million is not enough.

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