Sheep NLIS - Frequently Asked Questions

Page last updated: Thursday, 11 July 2019 - 10:53am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

The National Livestock Identification System (Sheep and Goats) is Australia's system for the identification and tracing of animals for food safety, disease control and market access purposes.

Here are answers to some of the questions that sheep producers and others in the industry may have about the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS).

About the NLIS system

1. What is the NLIS?

National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) is a tracing system that allows stock to be traced from their property of birth through all subsequent properties or to the place of slaughter. This traceability is achieved through a combination of ear tags, movement documentation such as the combined National Vendor Declaration waybill (NVD/waybill), and information about mob-based movements recorded on the NLIS database.

The system was developed in consultation with producers, processors, stock agents, saleyard operators and state regulators in response to a number of international animal health and food safety events.

 2. Why sheep NLIS?

Consumers worldwide are demanding greater traceability of the production of their food. To achieve this traceability we need a system that allows individual animals to be traced to all properties that they have been to as well as back to their original property of birth.

In the event of a serious exotic disease, such as foot and mouth, entering Western Australia, it would be imperative to locate infected animals and deal with them as soon as possible to minimise the huge financial losses across the industry and its service providers that would be suffered through the cessation of trade. Accurate and rapid traceability is important to achieve this.

Sheep NLIS delivers the following key benefits.

  • helps in maintaining market access by showing that WA’s sheep industry is able to meet the trace back requirements of our domestic and international customers
  • builds on the state’s reputation as a producer of safe food and animal products
  • strengthens product integrity through the enhancement of traceability systems. This contributes to increased consumer confidence in the ability of the sheep industry to identify and manage disease and chemical residue events should they occur
  • improves proof of ownership for lost or stolen stock.

3. What does it cost to be in the system?

Setting up an NLIS database account is free. However there are costs associated with buying the accredited visual eartags or the electronic eartags and their applicators. There is a range of accredited NLIS sheep tags available for purchase giving you a chance to choose the type that best fits your handling and readability needs.  For the price of the tags, check with your usual rural supplier.


4. What is a Property Identification Code (PIC)?

A property identification code (PIC) is the eight character alphanumeric code allocated by DAFWA to a property where livestock are kept. In WA, PICs indicate location and ownership of stock. They commence with the prefix ‘W’ and are in the format of four letters and four numbers.

Livestock producers are required by law to have a PIC for the properties on which they run their livestock. If you are unsure of your PIC, or need to obtain a PIC, call the DAFWA NLIS sheep helpdesk on +61 8 9363 4150 during business hours.

If you acquire, lease or agist other properties, you can add or delete them from your registration as appropriate at no extra cost, but you must register each property you run stock on. Your registered identifiers - your brand and earmark - can be used on any property you add to your registration.


Sheep NLIS - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. About the NLIS system
  2. PIC
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Beth Green
Barney Dzowa