Making the best use of NLIS tags, including genetic selection + VIDEO

Beef Central, 12/03/2019

NLIS tags are mandatory in Australia for livestock traceability, market access and food safety purposes. But there is a lot more that can be done with the NLIS tag to get value out of the investment, QDAF beef officers, Paul Gangemi and Eloise Moir explain…

A NEW video has been launched describing ways that producers can use the National Livestock Identification System to improve data collection and decision making for their herds.

Produced by beef extension officers at Queensland’’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the video has been designed to show producers how to make the best use of NLIS tags to improve business efficiency, genetic decision-making and land management.

NLIS tags are mandatory in Australia for livestock traceability, market access and food safety purposes. As animals are bought, sold and moved they must be tagged with an NLIS-accredited tag or device. But there is a lot more that can be done with the NLIS tag to get value out of the investment.

By using a scale indicator, an NLIS reader and herd management software or excel, individual animal information can be recorded against each NLIS tag. These tags allow for faster data collection, reduce hours of manual data entry and enable producers to view an animals’ life history and performance crush side.

This easily accessible information allows producers to make informed decisions regarding culling or drafting and information collected in the yards can be easily and quickly uploaded to herd management software back in the office, saving the time that manual data entry requires.

NLIS tags can be used to track average daily gains, enabling producers to identify poor performers and note their parentage, allowing removal from the production system. Producers can use the tags to record reproductive information such as pregnancy status, foetal age and lactation status. Having this information easily recorded and accessible in the yards ensures unproductive females are not slipping through the cracks.

Decisions surrounding supplementary feeding, paddock shifts and drafting for market specifications can be made using weight gain and body condition data.  Temperament and a comprehensive treatment history can also be kept for each animal. This information may have all been recorded manually in the past, but the significant advantage of linking individual animal information with NLIS tags is the reduction in time required for manual entry, the accuracy of the information and the reduction in paperwork.


Source: FutureBeef


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  1. Wallace Gunthorpe, 13/03/2019

    First things first!
    Let’s produce a NLIS tag that does not fall out!
    Just purchased 90 cows and calves,14 cows had tags,76 missing!

  2. Jenny James, 12/03/2019

    I bought the XR5000 and recorded all my weaners. I feed early weaned weaners. I found when I went on the truetest site I could not get answers for questions like – for all the under 60kg calves or all the 60-80kg etc weaned throughout the year, what weight did they end up before taken out to the bush weaner paddock. It was very keen to give me the last individual result which is virtually useless for me. I also wanted to find out what happens to different sized male calves when dehorned. When I bought these, I was assured I could find the answers to what I wanted so was very disappointed and would appreciate any help to where to go.

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