Australian cattle prices have been surging throughout 2020.
With the lift in the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator, combined with increasing re-stocker activity, many cattle producers may be considering taking advantage of these high prices by selling or buying calves.
As calf buying transactions are increasingly occurring online, it is important that sellers and buyers are aware of the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) requirements and the consequences which can occur if requirements are not being met.
It is a requirement that, at dispatch, all cattle regardless of age (including calves) must be tagged with an NLIS (cattle) tag, have a National Vendor Declaration and any previous movements onto the property of dispatch are recorded on the NLIS database.
For anyone looking at buying calves through a saleyard, cattle scale operator, public auction (conducted by a registered livestock agent), it is the responsibility of the person operating this business to notify the NLIS database of the movement.
They can check this themselves by logging in to the NLIS database by following the link - https://www.nlis.com.au/Login/.
If calves are bought through private transactions (including Facebook and Gumtree) or online auctions (for example, AuctionsPlus), a property-to-property NLIS transfer must occur.
The NLIS transfer must be completed within two days (48 hours) of the livestock arriving at the new property.
It is the responsibility of the buyer/receiver of the calves to notify the NLIS database of the transfer.
The only time an NLIS tag can be replaced is if the NLIS tag falls out or is damaged and cannot be read electronically.
In these instances it's very important that the correct NLIS tag is used - Post-breeder NLIS tag (Orange tag) for introduced livestock and Breeder NLIS tags (white tag) for livestock still on the property of birth
If anyone is thinking of buying or receiving a calf, it is important to note that all Victorian properties must have a Property Identification Code (PIC) to have one or more cattle (including calves).
In following these steps producers help protect Victoria's food safety reputation by maintaining Victoria's ability to trace and control diseases, and by being able to quickly trace livestock for any residue, disease or food safety issues if they arise.
All calves must be identified with the appropriate NLIS tag prior to pick up.
If calves do not have the appropriate NLIS tags, the owner is risking legal penalties and could be issued with infringement notices, worth up to $495. They are also risking the integrity national red meat industry.
To maintain Australia's whole-of-life cattle identification, producers are encouraged to be familiar with NLIS (Cattle) requirements and to do their part by tagging their animals correctly and ensuring movement records are up to date.
For queries regarding NLIS, contact the Victorian NLIS helpline on 1800 678 779 during business hours and or visit https://agriculture.vic.gov.au/livestock-and-animals/national-livestock-identification-system.