WESTERN Australian sheep and goat producers will have their electronic ear tag price reduced by 75 cents for 2023-drop lambs and kids as the state moves to mandate an EID system in the state.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development said arrangements have been made to have the 75 cent discount paid at a manufacturer level for accredited tags, following a similar model that was used for cattle during the rollout of EID in WA in 2005.
A DPIRD spokesperson said the Tag Incentive Pilot Program is for sheep and goats born in 2023, to be tagged with the sky blue 2023 year of birth tag. The move was endorsed by the WA Sheep and Goat National Livestock Identification System Advisory Group and is wholly-funded by the WA Government. It will only be applied to accredited NLIS sheep and goats tags from some manufacturers.
Accredited tag manufacturers will be subsidised by the WA Government to enable them to pass on the discount to resellers, reducing prices for some EID tags to around $1.10-$1.20/tag to producers. DPIRD is administering the government-funded pilot program for producers who are early adopters and are tagging sheep and goat born in 2023 with EID.
DPIRD has refused to release a full description of its proposed EID implementation plan, but the discounted tags initiative is consistent with a requirement to EID tag all lambs and kids born from 1 January 2025 and any older sheep/goats moving off property from that date.
The Tag Incentive Payment discount is part of the WA Government’s $3.4 million commitment to implement the nationally agreed EID system and enhance the State’s traceability capacity in response to increasing emergency animal disease threats.
DPIRD deputy chief veterinary officer Chris Rodwell said the sky blue 2023 year-of-birth EID tags would enable the scanning devices to be tested ahead of the 1 January 2025 start date.
“The 75-cent per tag discount reduces price difference between the visual tags currently in use and the new EID tags.
“The Tag Incentive Payment discount will apply to fully accredited NLIS EID tags, available from rural merchandisers and online for lambs and kids born in 2023,” he said.
“As the discount is applied at the manufacturer level, no additional paperwork or online input will be required to purchase the EID tags.
“Early adoption of the EID tags will minimise the time and labour required to re-tag sheep and goats born in 2023 prior to being moved off the property after the new EID system commences,” Dr Rodwell said.
DPIRD said it will also work with saleyards, processors and export depots to help integrate the new EID technology into their operations.
“The plan is to have scanners installed throughout the post-farmgate supply chain by mid-2024 to test the complete system,” Dr Rodwell said.
“The department will work with industry to implement the new technology before the mandatory EID system starts.”
DPIRD is collaborating with the Western Australian Sheep and Goat NLIS Advisory Group to facilitate the adoption of the EID tags.
Dr Rodwell said every tag had a unique electronic identifier, which would be scanned as the animal moved through the supply chain – providing an individual, whole-of-life passport.
“It is important that all sheep and goats are tagged by January 1 2025 – irrespective of their final destination – to ensure the rigour of the new system,” he said.
“I encourage all livestock producers to consider how to best make the move to electronic identification to protect their businesses and the industry.”
DPIRD said NLIS traceability is vital for a rapid response to an emergency animal disease or food safety incident and to underpin valuable trade relationships and export markets.
The Sheep and Goat NLIS Advisory Group is comprised of representatives from across the sheep and goat production, saleyard, processing, feedlotting and export sectors, as well as WA Farmers, the Pastoralists and Graziers Association, Sheep Producers Australia, Wool Producers Australia, the WA Goat Meat Industry Committee, Dairy Goat Society of Australia (WA), Livestock and Rural Transport Association (WA), WA tag manufacturers, livestock agencies, ASHEEP, the WA Livestock Exporters Association, Grower Group Alliance and DPIRD.
In WA, rapid response is not a reason for e-tags, as relevant information can be accessed by any phone to the band’s website in Bunbury. It takes just a few minutes. This is for the saleyard and processors benefit, while the costs fall on the producer.