Cattle earmarking

Branding and earmarking submissions

When applying for a brand, you must consider the following:

  • We prefer to process applications electronically as this results in faster process times.
  • All brand and earmark applications should be emailed to
  • Note: We will not receive posted applications as fast as electronically submitted applications.
  • For security reasons, credit card details must not be entered on the application form.
  • Once a fully completed application form is received by the Licensing Transaction Unit (LTU), we will accept it into the processing system.
  • Applications will be processed in order of arrival at LTU.
  • A staff member will call you to process fee payments via a secured line when they are ready to begin processing your application.
  • Currently there is an 80 working day turnaround period for processing fully completed applications.
  • A branding exemption is currently in place and cattle producers are not required to brand cattle with a live weight in excess of 100kg before sale.

A cattle earmark is an aid to identification, not proof of ownership. It may only be used in conjunction with the three-piece brand with which it is registered. It is an offence under the Brands Act 1915 to earmark without branding.

Purchased cattle with no earmarks may be earmarked provided they are branded with the brand with which the earmark is registered. Earmarking of cattle is not compulsory.

Registered earmark districts

Queensland is divided into the registered earmark districts.

Earmarks are registered for use within a particular district and cannot be used in any other district.

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: the following areas are divided into a number of small districts:

  • Maryborough
  • Rockhampton
  • Roma
  • Toowoomba
  • Warwick.

Basis of registration

  • Cattle earmarks are allocated to and registered for use in relation to specific earmark districts, with consideration given to neighbours' earmarks.
  • An earmark initially registered for use on a property specified by the applicant may be used elsewhere in the same district only if the earmark does not conflict with earmarks already in use at the new address.
  • If an owner moves into a new earmark district, any existing earmark is automatically cancelled.

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).

There are 6 earmark positions: positions 1, 2 and 3 on the off (right) ear, and positions 5, 6 and 7 on the near (left) ear.

Image of branding earmark location

Ear tags must be inserted so that they do not interfere with earmarks.

The marks must be of the shape and on the portions of the ear or ears as indicated in the registration certificate. The shape and pattern of cattle earmarks that may be allocated and registered under the Brands Act 1915 are described in the table of cattle earmark codes and shapes.

Earmarking instruments

Earmarks of all descriptions must be made with pliers and not more than one-third of the ear must be removed when making the registered cut or cuts. It is illegal to use any instrument (e.g. a knife) other than earmarking pliers for earmarking.

The registered owner must get the earmarking pliers directly from the manufacturer.

Registering an earmark

To legally use a cattle earmark in Queensland, a person must submit an application for a brand or earmark in the same name(s) as the applicant's three-piece brand to the Registrar of Brands. To establish the correct cattle earmark district, applicants can help by providing the property identification code (PIC).

Cattle earmarks cannot be transferred from one three-piece brand to another. They may be cancelled and re-registered in conjunction with another three-piece brand in the current registered district.

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