In NSW, one in five sheep and goat producers have adopted electronic ear tags - or eIDs - according to a survey of our members, hinting at some commercial or production advantage such technology affords.
But the national traceability reform backed in by the NSW Government will push that remaining four-in-five farmers into the world of eIDs whether they want to use this technology or not.
Australian farmers are generally regarded as some of the most innovative in the world, but they want to know the costs and benefits any change will have on their business; if the technology stacks up they will make the move, as shown by the growing uptake of drones.
We have started to see some of the details about how this reform will function. A timeline has been set for the mandatory use of eIDs - here in NSW they will be mandatory for all lambs and farmed goats born after January 1, 2025, and then mandatory for all sheep and farmed goats two years later. From June 30, 2024, processors will be required to start scanning eIDs, and saleyards will follow by January 2025.
This is a tremendous amount of work that needs to happen in a short time, especially when you consider there are some 24.7 million sheep alone in NSW.
When the NSW Government made its surprise announcement to back in mandatory eID last year, there was a lot of focus on the heightened risk of Foot and Mouth Disease. As this was done during our Annual Conference, our members swiftly put their heads together to formulate a response, voting to conditionally provide 'in principle' support to a National Traceability Scheme reform (you can read the full policy on our website).
The thinking was that the development of a national individual traceability system appeared set to happen with or without us, and it was better to be at the table having some input.
NSW Farmers is determined to secure financial assistance for farmers and the supply chain to invest in technology; to retain tag free pathways, and ensure the system be developed in consultation with producers.
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