The Swan Hill Regional Livestock Exchange held its first sheep sale today, using their recently installed electronic ear tag scanning equipment.
Thanks to a State Government grant of $250,836, three scanners have been installed at each of the four sheep drafts along with associated software, electronics, blocking gates and alterations to fences.
The updates come as mandatory requirements were introduced back in January 2017 requiring all sheep or goats born on a Victoria property on or after 1 January 2017 be tagged with an electronic identification tag, linked to the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS).
Victorian Saleyards were then given until 31 March 2018 to have systems, processes or infrastructure in place to read these electronic tags and upload any movement information to the NLIS database.
Council’s Fleet Operations and Livestock Exchange Co-ordinator Pat Ahern said Electronic Identification of cattle had already had a significant effect on boosting traceability and efficiency across the supply chain.
“Electronic Identification tags have been mandatory in the cattle industry for more than a decade, so it’s great to now have a system in place for sheep, which will just further promote our excellence in agriculture production worldwide,” Mr Ahern said.
“Victoria has been at the forefront of this technology, being the first state to introduce mandatory electronic Identification for cattle and sheep.
“And in addition to the traceability benefits during a disease outbreak or food safety emergency, the storage of individual animal data provides opportunities for producers to further improve their production systems.”
Mr Ahern added that the new technology will see the reinforcement of a sheep delivery curfew of 10am on the day of sale.
“This is in accordance with best practice and gives agents and saleyards staff enough time to scan all sheep and consolidate information prior to the sale starting, as well as making sure sales run to time and sheep don’t spend more time in the yards than necessary.”