Sheep Producers Australia has today released a report summarising key learnings from a recent tour of Victoria’s electronic identification system for sheep and goats, including elements which would need consideration if the system was to be successfully rolled out nationally.
The tour group included representatives of SPA, WoolProducers Australia, state farming organisations and a state traceability representative who visited The Australian Lamb Company abattoir at Colac, a Shelford property using EID for on-farm management and the Ballarat saleyard late last year.
SPA Acting CEO Stephen Crisp said the tour group concluded that the EID system being implemented in Victoria was on track to meet the requirements of the National Livestock Traceability Performance Standards.
However, Mr Crisp said the industry would benefit from independently testing the system to determine its performance compared with the mob-based system.
“Independent analysis would ensure that the benefits that were flagged before the Victorian EID roll-out are actually being delivered,” he said.
“The report outlines that jurisdictional traceability staff who are responsible for the enforcement and compliance of NLIS in each state would be the appropriate group to determine the methodology needed to evaluate the system.”
In addition, the group recommended the following elements needed to be addressed if a national roll-out of EID was ever to be considered:
• Price of tags and opportunities for a price reduction via a national tag tender or similar scheme and/or creating of a national online tag ordering service.
• Carcase feedback from abattoirs and ownership of data collected by processors.
• Assessment of infrastructure requirements and resource capability of abattoirs, saleyards and jurisdictions to determine funding needed to meet the requirements of an EID system.
• Adequate extension prior to and during implementation, to all sectors but particularly to producers and agents, including promoting the benefits of an EID system such as on-farm management and rapid traceback in emergency situations.
Mr Crisp said these factors would be referred to the SAFEMEAT Sheep Traceability Working Group, established to implement improvements to the NLIS for Sheep and Goats recommended following the Sheepcatcher II traceability exercise in mid-2016.
The tour group’s report is available for download at www.sheepproducers.com.au
For more information, contact the SPA office on 02 6269 5610