Selling or purchasing cattle in the NT

Do you know what your legal obligations are under the Livestock Act and Regulations?

Before moving cattle or buffalo within the NT you will need to meet requirements for the following:

NT waybill



RFID / approved NLIS device

Cattle tick

 Welfare standards

Cattle - all destinations

Buffalo - all destinations

Property Identification Code (PIC)

If you keep livestock regardless of the size of your house block, rural block, parcel of land, property, or the species or number of animals and even if they are pets, then a PIC is required. An update your contact details form should be completed when there are changes to your details or the species or number of livestock change. Registration is free.

Brands in the NT – under Livestock Regulations 60(1)

  • a person must not sell, give away, exchange or receive travelling livestock that are unbranded cattle
  • unbranded cattle, means cattle of at least eight months of age that have not previously been branded
  • it is therefore compulsory to brand cattle before they are moved off a property or are sold, unless they are less than eight months of age
  • you may apply to the Registrar for special permission to move unbranded cattle
  • please discuss with your Regional Livestock Biosecurity Officer.

Cross branding cattle or buffalo after purchase is not mandatory in the NT, however if livestock are not cross branded it provides no legal claim to purchased stock. Purchased cattle or buffalo need to be cross branded correctly to provide evidence of ownership.

A waybill is a mandatory requirement whenever cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, alpacas, llamas, deer and pigs are moved outside the boundaries of a property. The waybill must accompany the travelling stock.

  • PIC and property name is required for both origin and destination properties
  • Pink copies must be sent to the Registrar within 28 days of livestock being moved.

Please note: In the NT, a NVD or National Cattle Health Statement does not replace an NT waybill.

National Livestock Identification System (NLIS)

  • NLIS devices (RFIDs) need to be attached to cattle before they leave the property
  • It is the responsibility of the owner of the property receiving cattle to ensure that the NLIS devices are read then transferred to the NLIS database within 48 hours of cattle arriving at the property.

Cattle tick

  • Cattle and buffalo moving from the Cattle Tick Infected Zone (including from the Parkhurst Area to non-Parkhurst Area within the Cattle Tick Infected Zone) to the Control Zone or Free Zone require a clean inspection and supervised treatment by an Inspector prior to movement.
  • Cattle and buffalo moving from the Cattle Tick Control Zone to the Free Zone may require inspection and treatment. An Approved Property Management Plan specifies movement conditions for each property based on the presence of cattle tick on the property.

Welfare standards

  • Land Transport Standards (LTS) apply when cattle and buffalo (and other livestock) are being transported and outline specific requirements such as ‘fit to load’, time off water, spelling periods etc. to ensure welfare
  • New Cattle Standards will be introduced in 2017 which outline specific requirements on property to ensure welfare.

Further information is available on or contact your Livestock Biosecurity

Last updated: 30 April 2020

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