National Livestock Identification Scheme

Australia is incredibly lucky to have one of the world’s leading livestock traceability systems. The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) provides lifetime traceability of livestock through the collaboration of three key areas:

  • Individual animal/ mob based identification – e.g. individual RFID tag, or visual tag or brand
  • Identification of the physical location of the animal using a property identification code (PIC)
  • NLIS Database – where information is stored and correlated.

Local Land Services is a key stakeholder in Australia’s National Livestock Identification System (NLIS).

What is the National Livestock Identification System?

The NLIS is Australia’s scheme for identifying and tracing of livestock. It is crucial in protecting and enhancing Australia’s reputation and allowing Australia ongoing access to valuable export markets. The NLIS also enhances our ability to respond quickly to major food safety or disease incidents.

The NLIS ensures market access, product integrity, traceability, food safety, biosecurity and much more. In the face of a disease outbreak government and industry can use the NLIS to trace and rapidly detect ‘at risk’ stock. This helps to minimise the cost of an outbreak and allows trade to resume more quickly. It can also be used to ensure animals with chemical residues do not enter the food chain, helping to guarantee that the food we eat is safe for human consumption.

For more information on the NLIS, visit the NLIS website.

When do I need to register stock in the NLIS database?

Whenever a livestock movement between properties of different PICs occurs, it must be recorded on the NLIS database. It is the responsibility of the receiver of the stock to ensure the movement has been uploaded within 2 days of stock arrival. For example, if you purchased sheep through AuctionsPlus it is YOUR responsibility as the receiver to ensure the movement has occurred on the database.

For animals purchased or sold through a saleyard, the saleyard will upload the movement. Abattoirs must also record movements for all direct consignments of livestock.

It is good practice to check that database movements have occurred. Your agent may perform the database transfer for you as a service however it is important to note that it is not their responsibility. As such you will incur the penalty if this is not performed. Producers are encouraged to have a clear agreement with your agent about who will perform the database transfer and in what time frame.

Read our guide to moving and selling livestock.

NLIS for Sheep and Goats

NLIS for sheep and goats is a mob-based system, using a combination of printed ear tags displaying a property identification code (PIC) and an NLIS movement document.

All movements of sheep and goats to sale, slaughter or to any other property are recorded in the NLIS database as a mob movement.

NLIS for Cattle

NLIS for cattle involves electronic identification and recording of all individual animal movements. All movements of cattle to sale, slaughter or to any other property are recorded in the NLIS database.

Tips for applying NLIS tags

  • Place the device in the off-side (right) ear.
  • Apply device between the two cartilage strips and at the junction of the inner and middle third of the ear.
  • Ensure the transponder/female part of the device is on the inner side of the ear.
  • Dip the device in and antiseptic solution before applying
  • Always check to see if there is already a device or rumen bolus in place before tagging

Property identification codes

Anyone who keeps or owns livestock in NSW is required to make sure the land on which the livestock are kept has a PIC assigned to it.

PICs are printed on approved NLIS tags that are attached to livestock and are also recorded on livestock movement documents including national vendor declarations (NVD), transported stock statements (TSS) and PigPass NVDs.

Find out more about applying for a PIC number.

NLIS Database Training

Our Animal Health Biosecurity Officers provide training workshops on the NLIS database at various locations in NSW.

Workshop topics include:

  • National Livestock Identification System (NLIS)
  • National Vendor Declaration (NVD).

There will be a range of activities on the NLIS database:

  • Beast enquiry
  • Property to property transfers
  • Notifying database of deceased animals
  • Notifying database of replaced tags
  • PIC reconciliation.

Please note: a laptop/tablet will be required to complete the NLIS database activities.

North Coast

Expressions of interest are now open for NLIS training sessions on the North Coast in the following areas:

  • Casino
  • Lismore
  • Grafton
  • Dorrigo
  • Macksville
  • Kempsey
  • Wauchope.

If you are interested in attending one of these workshops, send an email to Jess Lock, Animal Health Biosecurity Officer at

Workshops will be run based on registration numbers. When we receive enough registrations to hold a session at each location, we will be in contact to arrange a date and time.

If you would like more information, please contact:

Jess Lock
Animal Health Biosecurity Officer

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