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NLIS - Are you helping yourself?

Brett Littler, Livestock Officer
September 2014

If we talk about NLIS, the response we get can be huge and varies from very positive to extremely negative. I won't get in the argument about the pros and cons of it, as most know my opinion, only to say that in the last few years I have had to use the NLIS system very extensively and on numerous occasions and it would have almost been impossible to get the successful out comes without the NLIS system.

With this in mind, I thought that it would be timely to remind people of what they have to do with the Cattle NLIS system and to advise people to look ahead because from a marketing perspective the issue of life time traceability is becoming more and more important.

Most people only get worried about the NLIS tags when they sell cattle and they have to put the NLIS tags in or replace ones that are lost. Most of the time, the stock are sold to a place that does the transfers for you, but this is not always the case.

What cattle movements need to be reported to the NLIS database?

Cattle movements that need to be reported to the NLIS database include:

  • moving cattle between your own properties, if those properties have different PICs
  • buying cattle privately
  • moving cattle to and from leased property
  • moving cattle to and from agistment properties

If you are selling to a market that demands lifetime traceability, the only way you can guarantee your cattle comply is to check their device on the NLIS database. Remember, lifetime traceability can only be claimed if all movements, from birth to slaughter, have been recorded on the NLIS database.

Some producers use the NLIS system to get individual feedback on cattle that they have sent to slaughter. I use it for this purpose when I do my NLRS and producer training in Live Cattle assessment.

It has made it so simple in regards to getting feedback on individual cattle and it is on the back of the NLIS system that in the future we will see things like Datalink which can assess how cattle may perform against numerous markets and specifications (watch this space).

A few tips when applying NLIS tags
  • Place the device in the off-side (right) ear.
  • Apply device between the two cartilage strips and at the junction of the inner and middle third of the ear.
  • Ensure the transponder/female part of the device is on the inner side of the ear.
  • Dip the device in and antiseptic solution before applying
  • Always check to see if there is already a device or rumen bolus in place before tagging

By doing the above you will increase the retention rates of the tag, therefore making it easier to keep lifetime traceability.

More information

Brett Littler 

Phone: 0427 007 398

Email: brett.littler@lls.nsw.gov.au