Late last year, Sheep Producers Australia (SPA) hosted a tour of industry representatives, to observe electronic identification in place in Victoria under the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) for sheep and goats.
SPA has released a report summarising the group’s conclusions, saying the EID system was on track to meet the requirements of the National Livestock Traceability Performance Standards. However, it identified the industry would benefit from independent testing.
Independent analysis would ensure the benefits flagged before the Victorian EID roll-out, were being delivered. The report outlined staff responsible for the enforcement of NLIS in each state, would be the appropriate group to determine the methodology needed to evaluate the system.
Additionally, they recommended the following needed to be addressed prior to a national roll-out:
- Price of tags and opportunities for a price reduction via a national tag tender or similar scheme and/or creating of a national online tag ordering service.
- Carcase feedback from abattoirs and ownership of data collected by processors.
- Assessment of infrastructure requirements and resource capability of abattoirs, saleyards and jurisdictions to determine funding needed to meet the requirements of an EID system.
- Adequate extension prior to and during implementation to all sectors, including promoting the benefits of an EID system.
These were referred to the SAFEMEAT Sheep Traceability Working Group.
The tour group also noted the importance of producers correctly recording property-to-property movements, as essential for a national system.
The Victorian Government has secured tags at wholesale prices through a competitive tag tender process with manufacturers, and has continued to subsidise the remaining cost.
The government operates an online tag ordering service. The minimum tag price was $0.45 in 2018 and is $0.55 in 2019. This is available to all Victorian producers and is below the cost in adjoining states of about $1.40.
The report noted, should the system roll-out nationally, a costing estimate should be prepared to allow the Federal Government to consider a grant to allow abattoirs and saleyards to implement the equipment and software.
The report is available at sheepproducers.com.au