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Eight key steps to setting up a livestock farm.

by Julie Lacy for news Leave a comment
Eight key steps to setting up a livestock farm.

Running a sheep and cattle farm and living on the land is huge undertaking but a wonderful way of life. If you are planning on producing livestock to sell you will need to ensure that you follow some basic procedures for industry compliance. Read on to find out more.

By joining the livestock community you will become part of one of the highest producing industries in Australia. The total value of Australia’s off-farm beef and sheep meat industry is A$17 billion, and contributes 3% of Australia’s GDP. *VFF.

The industry is growing year on year, and if you are a producer who is willing to innovate and look at new and efficient ways to build and grow your livestock business you will thrive.

You might have your land organised and have purchased some animals, but every time you try and sit down to navigate the compliance requirements to sell the livestock you get distracted, confused or a little frustrated with all of the information out there.

We’ve got you covered. Below are the eight key steps you need to do to get your farm set up.

What you need to do to get your cattle to market

  1. Get a PIC number

A PIC is a property identification number. A PIC number is a property identification code. It is an eight-digit code allocated by the Department of Primary Industries or the equivalent authority in each Australian state to identify a livestock producing property or farm. The PIC is the basis of Australia’s food safety and traceability programs.

To obtain a PIC, contact the relevant authority in your state – usually the agriculture or land management department.

Apply online by clicking on the links below:


  1. Become LPA Accredited

The LPA is Australia’s Livestock Production Assurance Program run by Meat and Livestock Australia. It is an accreditation program that all producers and livestock properties need to complete in order to trade their livestock for consumption.

The program ensures that biosecurity, animal welfare, safety, best practice record keeping, and lifetime traceability standards are upheld across the entire supply chain and industry.

Biosecurity practices will be auditable and will be part of the accreditation assessment process.

As of Oct 1, the LPA will charge a $60 levy every three years to complete or renew the accreditation. You will need to submit a plan that outlines your biosecurity plan on the farm as well as complete and pass a 1 hour online training module.

Apply here for accreditation and to learn more.

  1. Register for the NLIS

The NLIS is Australia’s National Livestock Identification Scheme. It is the process for the permanent identification and lifetime traceability of all livestock in Australia. By registering for NLIS you can order tags or devices for your cattle, which once applied to each animal, will enable them to be bought or sold.

You will be issued with a unique NLIS ID code which is printed on the electronic ear tag or device. The ID indicates a) The property where the animal was identified and b) whether that was the property of birth or not. It also identifies the manufacturer of the device, the year it was made, whether it is electronic or rumen bolus and the individual animal’s ID number.

You will need both the NLIS ID numbers and your NLIS user name and password in order to complete NVDs or move livestock on or off your property.

Register for NLIS here.

  1. Order NLIS devices

You will need to order NLIS tags for your cattle. These can be ordered on the NLIS website at the same time as when you register. There are different types of tags for each type of livestock. Read our guide to NLIS in more detail here.

Order NLIS tags here.

  1. Apply devices to your livestock

Each form of livestock in Australia will require a different type of tag, so once your tags have arrived you will need to follow the guide on the MLA or NLIS database to correctly apply to each animal.

Agvic has developed a great how-to guide on tagging sheep hereand read this Wiki guide to tagging cattle here.

Once an animal has been tagged, the tag should remain with the animal for life, but if it stops working/falls out and the animal is no longer on its property of birth, tag the animal with an NLIS-accredited post-breeder device to maintain lifetime traceability for the animal.

  1. Record any Livestock movements on or off your property.

Every livestock movement must be recorded by law in Australia. The compliance paperwork to record this movement is called a national vendor declaration (NVD). These can be completed with paper or electronically, (eNVD).

As the producer you must complete all NVD paperwork and pass on the certified, signed copy to your transporter, agent or next receiving party to then pass on through the supply chain.

You can complete all your NVDs electronically using Aglive’s IntegriPro, and the certification will automatically synchronise with the NLIS database. This accreditation will arrive at the next location be it processor, feedlot or next PIC, before the livestock arrives in real time.

Read our blog on what an eNVD is here.

  1. See information about your livestock

All of the information that you record about your livestock is captured on the NLIS database and can be viewed at any time. With your NLIS username and password details you can log-in to view livestock movement history, PIC status and livestock counts.

  1. Innovate your business using livestock data

If you would like to gain more information and insight about your livestock such as identifying patterns in feed, treatment, weights, locations and more consider investing in a farm and livestock management software app or tool.

The Aglive IntegriPro. enables you to complete eNVDs wirelessly, paperlessly on your smartphone, tablet or PC. The data goes into a cloud-based database, whilst also synchronising with the NLIS database.

You can use this data to make better decisions on your farm. It will give you a more precise and clear view of your business, production trends and patterns and you can download it for free.

By completing these 8 first steps you will be an excellent position to start trading your cattle. How are you going setting up your livestock farm? Tell us how we can help in the comments below or email us on

Learn more about Aglive IntegriPro.


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