Earmarking cattle

Earmarking of cattle is not compulsory. An earmark must be registered and you must have a registered three-piece brand before you can use it.

An earmark must be applied by an approved earmarking implement and cannot remove more than a third of the ear.

It is an offence under the Brands Act 1915 to possess or use earmarking implements that are not registered to you.

Registered cattle earmark districts

Queensland is divided into registered cattle earmark districts.

Earmarks may only be used within the district they are registered.

The registered earmarks districts are:

    Map of branding districts

    • Barcaldine
    • Bowen
    • Brisbane
    • Cairns
    • Charleville
    • Clermont
    • Cloncurry
    • Cooktown
    • Cunnamulla
    • East Moreton
    • Gladstone
    • Hughenden
    • Longreach
    • Maryborough*
    • Normanton
    • Rockhampton*
    • Roma*
    • Springsure
    • St. George
    • Thargomindah
    • Toowoomba*
    • Townsville
    • Warwick*
    • West Moreton
    • Windorah
    • Winton.

    *Note: These areas are divided into a number of small districts.

Assessing your earmark application

Earmarks are allocated to and registered for use in relation to specific earmark districts. Earmarks that are too similar or easily changed to look like a neighbour's earmark will not be registered.

You can use an earmark elsewhere in the same district if it does not conflict with earmarks used by your neighbours at the new address. You must provide in writing the address of the new property where the earmark will be used.

If you move into a new earmark district, your existing registered earmark is automatically cancelled. You will need to register again in the new district if you still wish to use an earmark.

Cattle earmark codes, shapes and positions

Cattle earmarks are referred to by a code of letters and numbers. The letters indicate the shape of the cut or cuts, and the numbers specify where the cut or cuts are to be made (e.g. A1E7).

Earmark positions

There are 6 earmark positions; positions 1, 2 and 3 on the off (left) ear, and positions 5, 6 and 7 on the near (right) ear (refer to image below).

Image of branding earmark location

The marks must be of the shape and on the portions of the ear or ears as indicated in the registration certificate.

Earmark codes and shapes

The shape and pattern of cattle earmarks that may be allocated and registered under the Brands Act 1915.

Branding earmarks codes and shapes

Earmarking instruments

All types of earmarks must be made with pliers. Only the cut or cuts you have registered may be used and no more than one-third of the ear can be removed. It is illegal to use any instrument (e.g. a knife) other than earmarking pliers for earmarking.

Registered owners must buy their earmarking pliers directly from the manufacturer/supplier.

When buying, you must provide a copy of your certificate of registration to the manufacturer. You can search the DAF Brands database (iBrands) for your registration details.

Find a list of manufacturers and suppliers of earmark pliers.

How to register an earmark

Your earmark must be registered before it can be legally used in Queensland.

Branding and earmarking submissions

You must consider the following submissions information when applying for a brand or earmark:

  • The exemption allowing temporary COVID-19 branding relief for cattle producers ceased as of 30 June 2023, coinciding with the scaling back of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
  • Email all brand and earmark applications to brands@daf.qld.gov.au.
  • Do not enter credit card details on the application form.
  • Payments are processed via BPoint. You will be contacted by a member of staff regarding payment when your application is being processed.
  • There is currently a 40-working day turnaround period for all applications.

Applying for an earmark

To apply, submit your completed application for a cattle brand and/or earmark with the correct fee.

Your application must be in the same name(s) as your three-piece brand. Include the property identification code (PIC) with your application to make sure your earmark is established in the correct district.

When your application is approved, you will be issued a registration certificate. Earmark pliers must be made in accordance with the design shown on the certificate.

Earmark pliers

When buying, you must provide a copy of your certificate of registration to the supplier. You can search the DAF Brands database (iBrands) for your registration details.

Find a list of manufacturers and suppliers of earmark pliers.

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