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The basics – with Sheep EID

I believe that mandatory eID in sheep is going to bring about positive change in the sheep industry.  There will be some challenges and problems to solve along the way, but the overall impact will be a positive one.

In this series of articles, I aim to provide some simple practical advice on what to do.  This first article and probably the most important discusses what you should do in preparation for lamb marking from January 1 2017.

Lamb marking is obviously the best time to apply eID tags.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that you might save a couple of dollars if you tag when sheep are going onto a truck for sale.  What you save in the odd few tags is far outweighed by the hassle and extra time it takes to tag older lambs or sheep.

First up, you need to purchase tags.  Subsidised tags are purchased through the Agriculture Victoria Website. You can purchase 35 cent subsidised tags for up to 10% above your 2016 tag purchase volume.

You will also have a chance to nominate the numbers printed on the face of the tags.  Typically the numbers start at 1 and go up.  The full number printed on the tag is a 16 digit NLIS number and you can find out more about this here. The number range of the last 5 digits is your choice.

Order your tags early.  The tag manufacturers will experience higher than usual orders next year, so make it easy and get your order in early. Don’t leave it to the last minute

When your tags arrive, check your order, make sure that the numbers printed on the tags are correct, the tags are the correct colour (white for 2017) and you have the right applicators.  Don’t expect the tags will use the same applicator as visual tags, check it out, make sure it is going to work.

Check the sequence of the tags, and organise your tags so you use them in a sequence.  This is a very important part of the process and will allow to use eID sequence ranges to derive future benefit.  What you need to assemble is a list of the following for Ewe Lambs and Wether lambs.  Try and use different numbers for ewe lambs and wether lambs.  Just in the same way Ewes and wethers typically have tags in opposite ears, give them a different set of numbers.

Graph for BASICS Article

In the future, any time one of your lambs are identified, it can be traced back to the mob of ewes it came from and what type of animals they were, providing insight into productivity, disease sensitivity, fertility and a range of other factors.

In future articles, I will go into more detail on choosing the right eID set up for your livestock business.