As most of you are aware electronic ear tagging of cattle comes into force on July 1st this year (for deer it is 1st March 2013).  From this date white NAIT approved electronic (RFID) tags will be mandatory for all cattle movements.  AHB requirements for secondary tags for movements other than to slaughter remain in place at present. Where RFID tags are applied to cattle with existing AHB approved tags the latter must not be removed.  Any AHB primary and secondary tags that you currently have can be used up as secondary tags if needed for movements other than to slaughter after RFID tagging becomes mandatory on July 1st  2012.


Before you do anything you should register with NAIT (0800 624 843) - this is not yet compulsory but will apparently become so.  Doing this (NAIT say) simple registration process could save you quite a bit of recording work as basically all cattle movements through NAIT accredited works and sale yards will then be automatically recorded for you.  SFF and Alliance works, PGG and Elders yards are accredited.


To ensure optimum retention RFID tags should be applied to the inner central part of the ear with the white female part of the tag facing forward.  Place the tag about an inch closer to the head than the centre of the ear – this will allow for future application of visual id tags should these be required.  Place the tag between the 2 ribs in the ear. The right ear is preferred apparently, as many facilities use fixed panel readers with scanning capability on the right hand side of the animal.


These NAIT RFID tags can’t be re used as they are unique to a particular animal and can only be removed from live animals by a NAIT authorized person.  After July 1st there will be no AHB direct to slaughter tags available and apart from the following 2 exceptions every animal must have a NAIT approved RFID tag attached prior to movement.  The exceptions are:

a.       Bobby calves going directly to slaughter (doesn’t really affect beef farmers).

b.       Animals born prior to July 1st are exempted if:

·         They are deemed by the owner to be impractical or dangerous to tag and

·         They are going direct to slaughter and

·         They are fitted with an existing AHB primary tag.

·         However, you will get hit with a $13 fee (fine)/head apparently!


As smaller animals are easier to tag than larger ones it is recommended you begin tagging now.  There are several styles of NAIT RFID white cattle tags that are available now:


  1. RFID Birth Tags - These are ideal for young animals born from now on.  They are printed with your AHB herd number, animal number and year of birth, the latter being optional.


  1. RFID Traka Tags - These can be applied to all existing cattle to make them NAIT compliant before their first off farm movement and can also be used as a replacement NAIT tag.  They are printed with the 16 digit RFID number and your AHB herd number.


  1. RFID Management Tags - These are supposed to be a convenient NAIT tag option for mass conversion of herds to the new NAIT standard. They are printed with the 16 digit RFID number and the animal’s individual management number.


I realise this is probably as clear as mud and all a bit confusing.  It is proving quite hard to get a consistent story depending on who you talk to (NAIT, various tag companies etc).  I know the scheme is not overly appreciated by some farmers however don’t shoot us – we’re just the messenger.  Our retail staff are there to answer any queries as best they can and can assist you in sorting out your particular requirements and placing orders.

Extract from: Sheep Newsletter - April 2012