Branding and earmarking livestock

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Brands application process update

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown there are some changes to the brands application process.

  • Currently only horse and cattle three-piece brand applications and pig brand applications, are being processed. You should delay lodging applications for symbol brands or earmarks, until after the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • All brand and earmark applications must be emailed to For security reasons, credit card details must not be entered on the application form.
  • Once the application form is received, licensing and transaction staff will phone applicants to process fee payments via a secured line.
  • Applications may take up to 80 working days to progress.
  • Do not post applications as they will not be received by processing staff.
  • A branding exemption is in place and cattle producers are not required to brand cattle with a live weight in excess of 100kg before sale. The exemption will apply until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Branding is compulsory for cattle and pigs when they are offered for sale in Queensland. A temporary branding exemption is currently in place and producers are not required to brand cattle with a live weight in excess of 100kg before sale. Exemptions remain unchanged for approved stud cattle sales and calves under 100kg live weight.

Livestock owners are responsible for registering brands and earmarks, and obtaining the branding iron and earmarking pliers. Owners must ensure that branding irons are made to the exact shape shown on the certificate of registration, and that only approved paints or pastes are used (in the case of pigs, sheep and goats).

Brands and earmarks are registered to an entity, not a property. Earmarks are registered for use only within a particular district and registration is not automatically transferred with a change of property ownership.

Only authorised people can possess and use registered brands and earmarks. Check with Biosecurity Queensland to ensure the brands and earmarks are registered in the correct name.

This guide includes information about branding and earmarking cattle, horses, sheep, goats and pigs, as well as cross branding rules.

Note: If cattle are taken directly to slaughter from another state or territory, they may be exempt from branding requirements if they:

  • have been purchased over the scales at the feedlot in Queensland
  • are kept at a registered cattle feedlot in Queensland until they are slaughtered.

Interstate cattle sold live in Queensland must still be branded.