Identification and movement requirements for cattle and buffalo

Moving cattle or buffalo off your property

It is the responsibility of the owner of the livestock to ensure all livestock movements comply with movement requirements before the movement begins.

If you are planning to move cattle or buffalo off your property, you must ensure you meet the following requirements.

  • All cattle over the age of eight months must be branded with a clear, legible and permanent brand.
    NOTE: This does not apply to buffaloes. Buffaloes do not require a brand for movement.
  • Only registered earmarks must be applied.
  • Earmarks must only be applied to cattle or buffalo that have been branded with a registered brand.
  • An earmark must not be longer than 8 cm.
  • All cattle and buffalo must be identified with an approved National Livestock Identification System device.
  • All cattle and buffalo must be deemed fit for the intended journey.
  • The owner of the livestock must issue a completed NT waybill prior to departure. A National Vendor Document cannot be used to replace a NT waybill for movements
  • Any cattle or buffalo moving off your property that are not owned by you, must have a separate waybill.
  • You must ensure all treatments and/or inspections required for movements related to cattle tick zones.

Returning cattle or buffalo

Cattle and buffalo may be moved without a waybill and approved NLIS device if the livestock are being returned to the property on which they are usually kept after straying beyond the boundaries of the property.

Plant and livestock sector reforms to property identification arrangements

Australia’s agricultural and food traceability systems are currently the focus of a number of pieces of work, including reforms to property identification arrangements. This work is looking to opportunities to enhance Australia’s traceability arrangements across animal, plant, food and fibre industries, which will benefit the management of pest and disease outbreaks, food safety, trade and market access requirements, and address increasing consumer interest in product sustainability, ethics and provenance.

What is a property identifier?

A property identifier (or property identification code) is a unique number issued by your state or territory government to properties with livestock and is the basis of a traceability system.

What are the proposed changes?

The proposed changes will result in a property identifier being issued for properties involved in the major plant production sectors, including properties that are part of the supply chain.

A rigorous and consistent approach to identifying those properties involved in primary production, processing and distribution is a key building block in developing a robust traceability system. As a result, all governments have committed to deliver nationally harmonised property identification arrangements across the animal and major plant production sectors. It involves agreeing to a set of principles and business rules by the end of 2019 and having necessary legislative changes in place by the end of 2022. The proposed reforms to property identification arrangements will:

  • help to ensure we continue to meet the increasing expectations of consumers, both domestic and overseas, and importing countries
  • in the event of a biosecurity or food safety incident, support swift and targeted action while minimising business disruption to those unaffected or uninvolved, and
  • see regulatory requirements operating alongside/supporting industry tracing systems and needs, avoiding unnecessary costs.

The principles and supporting business rules have been developed by a working group comprising of all state and territory governments and the Commonwealth.

How are we engaging industry?

To implement the proposed changes, each state and territory will be seeking to work with their respective plant and livestock industry groups (and their members) on the design and implementation of this commitment. New arrangements will mean changes to existing arrangements, and will likely have resourcing implications for all parties. In addition to your views on the principles themselves,we are interested in:

  • how the proposed changes will affect your specific industry
  • ways to minimise disruptions from these changes, including potential integration with existing or anticipated industry led tracing or quality assurance systems
  • options to enhance system compliance.

Read more at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.

How can you get involved?

Stakeholders will be engaged through existing industry and government forums. Written submissions can be made through the Australian Government Department of Agriculture’s Have Your Say website.Submissions will close on Friday 1 November 2019.

If you require further information, please contact either of the following Northern Territory representatives from the Property Identification Code working group:

Plant Biosecurity Branch

Hannah Cooke

Plant Biosecurity Officer 08 8999 2063

Livestock Biosecurity Branch

Greg Crawford

Regional Livestock Biosecurity Officer     08 8951 8125

Last updated: 23 September 2019

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