Electronic sheep tags can help improve biosecurity and productivity for sheep meat producers and wool growers, Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said today
During a visit to a wool and sheep meat producing farm near Ararat, Mr Walsh saw first hand the on-farm use of the electronic National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) technology.
“It is clear from what I saw that electronic tags can provide real benefits for sheep meat producers and wool growers,” Mr Walsh said.
“They can be read accurately in a fraction of a second, so electronic sheep tags simplify the recording of fleece weights, live-weight changes and information about the health and reproductive performance of sheep.
“Sheep tags now cost 90 cents each, making them an attractive option for producers who are interested in measuring the performance of sheep on an individual animal basis in order to improve the productivity of their flocks.”
The NLIS (Sheep & Goats) is currently based on the use of a visually readable tag attached by the breeder, and paper records provided by the consignor when sheep/goats are traded.
“There is ample evidence that improvements to the current system are needed,” Mr Walsh said.
“Victoria needs an efficient identification and tracking system for sheep and goats to protect our livestock industries from the devastating economic consequences that would result from the spread of a serious exotic disease such as foot and mouth disease (FMD).”
The Matthews Report into Australia’s preparedness for an FMD outbreak was released by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in late 2011.
“The report demonstrates the current paper based ID system would likely fail under the strain of an FMD outbreak, putting sheep and cattle industries at long term risk,” Mr Walsh said.
“Victoria’s dairy and beef producers have gained an international reputation for the development and introduction of the ‘best practice’ NLIS system for identifying and tracking cattle for biosecurity and commercial reasons.
“It is pleasing to see Victoria’s sheep producers are now capitalising on the on-farm flock management opportunities associated with the technology.”
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
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