NLIS - 8 step guide to moving and selling cattle

The NLIS (cattle) enhances Australia’s ability to maintain access to key export markets and helps to quickly contain a major food safety or disease incident. NLIS allows animals to be tracked from property of birth to slaughter, for biosecurity, food safety, product integrity and market access purposes.

Have you got an active PIC? Contact your nearest Local Land Services (LLS) phone 1300 795 299.

To move stock off your property, you need to complete a National Vendor Declaration (Cattle NVD and Waybill). To obtain a book of NVDs, print an electronic NVD (eDec) on the LPA website or complete and submit an eNVD form directly to NLIS, you need to become accredited with Livestock Production Assurance (LPA).

Register at MLA's About the Livestock Production Assurance program page or phone 1800 683 111.

Order your NVDs via the LPA website or by phone. NVDs are issued in a book of 20 pre-printed with your PIC details, or are available on the LPA website as an eDec, or eNVD.

Order at MLA's About the Livestock Production Assurance program or phone 1800 683 111.

All individual cattle movements must be recorded on the NLIS database.

  • Movements of cattle to and from saleyards, abattoirs or shows are done by saleyard and abattoir operators or show organisers.
  • All other cattle movements between PICs are recorded in the NLIS database by the owner or receiver of the cattle, e.g. when buying cattle in a private sale or through an on-line auction.

Your stock and station agent can assist you to scan and record cattle movements.

NLIS devices can be ordered through your local rural merchandiser or direct from tag manufacturers. Place your order at least 14 days before you need them.

What devices do I order?

There are two types of NLIS devices:

  1. Ear tag – attached to the right (offside) ear
  2. Rumen bolus – inserted into the rumen/reticulum of the animal. The bolus comes with a corresponding management ear tag applied to the right ear, which indicates it as being identified with a bolus.

2 of the common ear tags are displayed - one is grey with black writing while the other is red with black writing

There are two ear tags colours:

  1. White - breeder tags and
  2. Orange - post-breeder tags.

A grey and a red tag

Breeder device (white)

Apply to animals born on your property. Note: White devices can be used to replace lost devices for cattle born on your property.

Post-breeder device (red)

Apply to cattle no longer on their property of birth, or to introduced animals that have lost their original tag.

Before selling any stock, check each animal has an NLIS ear tag. Stock without an ear tag must be tagged with a tag printed with your PIC. Breeder tags are to be used for home bred cattle, and orange post-breeder tags for bought in animals.

Tag position

This diagram shows where to correctly place the tag - right in the middle of the of the lobe

The NVD or other movement document, such as a Transported Stock Statement, must be completed prior to movement of your stock.

  • The NVD is a legal document and must be completed correctly and signed.
  • You must answer all questions on the document.
  • Use an NVD for the agistment property if you are selling cattle from agistment.
  • Keep your copy of the completed NVD for 7 years.

NLIS Cattle is a device-based system. Complete a transfer onto or off your property in 4 simple steps.

  1. Log onto the database, with your user ID and password.
  2. Select ‘Livestock moved off or onto my property’ function. You can choose one of three methods of entering data - type in the details, upload a file, or choose from the list (simplest).
  3. Enter the following details:
    a. NLIS ID or RFID
    b. Date of movement
    c. From PIC
    d. To PIC
    e. NVD Serial Number
  4. Follow prompts to confirm details and send the information to the database.

With cattle, all you need to know to complete an NLIS transfer, is the NLIS ID or RFID of animals and what’s on the NVD: the PIC the animals are from, the PIC you are moving animals to (one of them must be your PIC), date of movement and NVD serial number.

An NLIS tag showing the different sections of the identification number

There are two distinct numbers for an NLIS device: NLIS (visual) ID and a Radio Frequency Identification Device (electronic) - RFID. The system links these numbers on the NLIS database, and either may be used to record cattle movements.

To prevent errors, the numbers must be entered in the correct format.

NLIS (visual) ID

This number is printed on the outside of the NLIS device – either the ear tag or bolus management tag. The number sequence is as follows:

  • Red = Property Identification Code (PIC)
  • Green = Manufacturer code
  • Brown = Device type: B = breeder tag
  • Blue = Year of manufacture: N = 2017
  • Cream = Serial number

RFID (electronic)

This number is encoded on a microchip inside the NLIS device. It is a globally unique, random number that can only be read by an NLIS scanner. This number is formatted in the following sequence:
This tag the first three numbers green for the manufacturer code and the remainder are brown for the device code

  • Green = Manufacturer's code
  • Brown = Device number

For more information or help with the NLIS database: