Types of cattle and horse brands

Branding and earmarking submissions

Before applying for a brand or earmark, read these important submission requirements:

  • there is a temporary coronavirus (COVID-19) branding exemption in place for cattle producers – you are not required to brand cattle for sale
  • when we are ready to begin processing your application, we will phone you to process the fee payment(s) via a secure line
  • there is an 80 working day turnaround period for processing fully completed applications.

Cattle and horse brands are registered for use on either cattle or horses. Brands can only be registered to a person or business (entity), not a property.

Types of brands

There are 2 types of brands that can be used on cattle and horses:

  • three-piece brand
  • symbol brand.

Three-piece brand

The Brands Act 1915 defines the shape, size and composition of all three-piece horse and cattle brands in Queensland. The different types of three-piece brands that may be registered are described by series.

All three-piece brands with a sideways letter must have the sideways letter permanently affixed to another character in the brand.

All characters in a three-piece brand:

  • must have a face depth between 30mm and 65mm (face depth refers to the height of the character)
  • may be imprinted either vertically or horizontally in any of the prescribed positions. When branding vertically, the brand must remain in its original horizontal format and be rotated clockwise to 90 degrees.

Three-piece brand

View images and descriptions of the three-piece horse and cattle brand series.

Symbol brand

You must have a registered three-piece brand to register a symbol brand. Once registered, it may be used in addition to, or instead of, your registered three-piece brand.

A symbol brand may be any free-form shape that is not too similar to any registered brand. Search the DAF Brands database (iBrands) for registered brands.

All symbol brands must include a:

  • dot to the right of, and in line with, the lower part of the symbol
  • standard addition – these are applied to symbol brands so that more than 1 brand owner may register the same image. There are multiple standard additions you can choose from.

View images and descriptions of cattle and horse symbol brand additions.

Symbol branding iron

The face depth of a symbol branding iron must be between 30mm and 80mm (face depth refers to the height of the character).

Cattle branding positions

The first brand may be placed on any of the following positions:

  1. neck
  2. rump
  3. shoulder
  4. thigh
  5. twist (the upper rear portion of the animal's hind leg between the pin bone and the hock).

Note: It is illegal to place a brand on the ribs or cheek of cattle.

Cattle branding positions

Horse branding positions

The first brander on horses may imprint the registered three-piece brand on any of the following positions:

  1. quarter
  2. shoulder
  3. thigh.

Horse branding positions

Age numerals and stud references

Stud, age or herd book reference numbers may be imprinted by the person first branding an animal in any of the prescribed positions.

These brand numerals are not registered under the Brands Act 1915.

The numerals or references may be imprinted on any of the prescribed positions or below an imprinted brand for both horse and cattle. If it is imprinted below an imprinted brand it must be imprinted at the same angle and directly beneath the previous brand at a distance of between 35mm and 65mm.

Cross-branding rules

It is not compulsory to cross-brand purchased stock. If you choose to, there are rules to follow to make sure you cross-brand correctly.

Your registered cattle and horse brand may only be imprinted on previously branded cattle or horses if 1 of the following occurs:

  • the brand is placed in any of the prescribed positions shown in the diagrams
  • if it is imprinted in the same position as the first brand, it must be placed at the same angle and immediately beneath the last brand not closer than 35mm or more than 65mm.

How to register a brand

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

Brands are registered to a person or business, not a property. You may only use the brand on a property you include in your application. The brand must not be the same or similar to an adjoining neighbour's registered brand.

Note: You can only register a symbol brand if you have a three-piece brand registered.

Branding and earmarking submissions

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

  • there is a temporary COVID-19 branding exemption in place for cattle producers – you are not required to brand cattle for sale
  • submit your applications electronically so that we receive them quicker and can process them faster
  • email all brand and earmark applications to brands@daf.qld.gov.au
  • do not enter credit card details on the application form for security reasons
  • when your fully completed application form is received by the Licensing Transaction Unit, we will accept it into the processing system
  • applications will be processed in order of arrival
  • when we are ready to begin processing your application, we will phone you to process the fee payment(s) via a secure line
  • there is an 80 working day turnaround period for processing fully completed applications.

Applying for a brand

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

Applications are processed in the order we receive them and only if they have been fully completed. Include the property identification code (PIC) with your application to make sure your brand is established in the correct district.

When the brand has been approved, you will be issued a registration certificate.

Branding irons

It is your responsibility to organise and pay for the branding iron. Branding irons must be made to the exact shape shown on the certificate of registration.

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

Find a list manufacturers and suppliers of branding irons.

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