Mandatory sheep and goat individual electronic identification

To learn more about sheep and goat eID, register to attend an information session.

Queensland is moving to mandatory electronic identification (eID) for individual sheep and goats through the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS).

What is eID?

Electronic identification, or eID, is a device with a microchip inside, generally in an ear tag. eID technology has been used successfully for cattle in Australia since 2005, and in sheep and goats in Victoria since 2016.

The national eID system has 3 elements to enable quick contact tracing:

  1. Each location having a property identification code (PIC)
  2. Using an ear tag with a microchip inside to identify each animal
  3. Entering the necessary information for each animal into the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) database.

Key dates

  • January to December 2023
    • Queensland implementation plan announced
    • Information sessions held
    • Regulation and policy review
  • 1 January 2025
    • All sheep and farmed goats born on or after 1 January 2025 will need to be tagged with an eID before they leave their property of birth.
    • Saleyard, depot and property to property scanning begins.
    • Sheep and farmed goats with visual tags to comply with current mob-based movements.
  • 1 January 2027
    • All sheep and farmed goats will need to be tagged with an eID if moved from their property of residence.
    • Visual tag system and mob-based movements will no longer be allowed.
    • All industry sectors will be required to scan sheep or farmed goats with eID devices.

What you need to do

Producers will need:

  • to purchase eID tags
  • a tag applicator
  • a reader and computer to support the NLIS database transfer if you purchase livestock directly from another property.

Saleyards will need:

  • to purchase and install readers
  • connectivity, software and hardware
  • to modify yard infrastructure.

Processors will need:

  • to use existing readers, or purchase and install new readers
  • to modify infrastructure.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is currently looking at financial support to assist producers and industry make the transition to mandatory eID in sheep and goats.

Why we need eID

We need a fast and accurate sheep and goat traceability system to protect Queensland's livestock industry from an emergency animal disease outbreak.

The current visual mob-based system is not fast or accurate at tracing sheep and goat movement.

Delays in tracing sheep and goats during an outbreak of an emergency animal disease can lead to the disease spreading further.

The national eID system means we can quickly see:

  • where a sheep or goat has been
  • which other sheep and goats they have mixed with
  • the livestock's destination.

If we don't implement sheep and goat eID in Queensland, delays in tracing will lead to:

  • further disease spread
  • more animals that need to be destroyed
  • more producers being impacted.

Watch the Where's Woolly explainer video to learn more about why we're introducing sheep and goat eIDs.

Benefits to industry

In addition to managing disease outbreaks more effectively, you can also use sheep and goat eID to:

  • monitor individual animal fertility, weight, disease status and health treatments. Some Queensland producers are currently using eIDs to record fleece information as a management tool.
  • monitor the relative profit generated by lines of purchased sheep or goats sourced from different vendors
  • reduce the need to physically handle sheep and goats to reduce stress and the risk of injury to animals and staff
  • validate commercial brand opportunities relating to sustainability and emissions.

Stay informed

Find out about the introduction of mandatory electronic identification (eID) for sheep and goats in Queensland at an upcoming information session.

Sign up to the Leading Sheep newsletter to receive further updates.

Queensland Traceability Advisory Group (QTAG)

The Queensland Traceability Advisory Group (QTAG) is made up of key industry representatives and government agencies who are working together to implement eID in Queensland.

National approach

In September 2022, every Minister for Agriculture in Australia agreed to work towards mandatory implementation of sheep and goat eIDs nation-wide by 1 January 2025.

Other states have implemented or announced their implementation plans:

The Australian Government has:

  • announced $26 million for an upgrade of the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) database
  • established an industry-government Sheep and Goat Traceability Task Force, to ensure the NLIS database and eID systems across all states and territories are compatible.