When owning a farm in Victoria where you run livestock ( specifically Cattle, sheep, goats, or pigs) there are certain responsibilities that you need to uphold.
PIC & Livestock Identification
The first step is to apply for a PIC (Property Identification Code) by going to the Agriculture Victoria website; www.agriculture.vic.gov.au
In Victoria all livestock born after 1st January 2017 must be identified with an NLIS ( National Livestock Identification Scheme) electronic eartag/device, before they leave their property of birth even if you give or receive them for free. To order tags go online at Agriculture Victoria or order through your local farm supplies company.
So make sure they are tagged when you purchase livestock. You will also need to purchase tags for those that are lost.
I would recommend tags with individual numbers and you should double tag animals if you wish to retain pedigrees.
If you wish to send livestock to a sale yard, abattoir or move livestock to a property with a different PIC, they must be tagged and accompanied by a Vendor Declaration.
Most producers use the LPA NVD ( Livestock Production Assurance, National Vendor Declaration )form.
Alternatively you can use the Victorian Vendor Declaration form (Agriculture Victoria website) but this may not be accepted by the purchaser.
While it is not compulsory for all livestock producers to sign up to the LPA program, the majority of meat processors require livestock from LPA accredited properties with prices discounted by up to 40% for non LPA accredited stock.
Once you choose to use the LPA NVD forms you agree to sign up to the LPA program.
‘The LPA is the on-farm Assurance program that underpins market access for Australian red meat
LPA NVD’s provide evidence of livestock history and on-farm practices when transferring livestock through the value chain’.
LPA has an accreditation process which requires producers to follow 7 main steps
The main aim of these is to make sure animals are well treated, have a minimal risk of disease, there is good traceability and reduced the risk of contamination when processed for human consumption.
The next step is to produce a farm map with individual paddock names/numbers and key features such as water sources and plantations etc. You will need to reference paddock names in your record keeping.You can download maps of your property by searching Victorian satelite maps.
One suggestion I heard recently was naming the paddocks after countries or places you like to travel to. You can then move livestock from ‘France to Spain’, spend a few hours fencing in Italy, or maybe take your partner for a picnic lunch in Paris all without leaving the farm.
The LPA seven steps are:
1) Property Risk Assessments; anything which may affect livestock health including historical chemical contamination.
2) Safe and responsible animal treatments; Record all animal treatments including date, chemical, batch numbers and withholding period/ Export slaughter interval(WHP/ESI).
3) Stockfoods, fodder crops, grain & pasture treatments; date, chemical, WHP for grazing etc
4) Preparation for dispatch of livestock; check WHP/ESI & transport requirements, NLIS devices & NVD’s. Make sure you fill out the Vendor Declaration correctly.
5) Livestock transactions & movements; record all sales, purchases other movements of livestock between properties.
6) Biosecurity; Assesment of risk to farm & livestock from pests, weeds & disease. Management strategy. It is a good idea to look at potential risks from neighbours such as poor boundary fencing, disease or pests from similar types of livestock and how you might reduce that risk of spreading to your animals.
7) Animal welfare; complete on line training and get a copy of ‘Australian animal welfare standards and guidelines’ at the LPA website
Selling & Purchasing Livestock
When selling or purchasing livestock it is the responsibility of the purchaser to transfer ownership of the livestock.
You will need to record the PIC numbers of the livestock and go to the Agricultural Victoria website to transfer ownership.
Agriculture Victoria /NLIS/ Property to Property Transfer (P2P movement) look at requirements/ record movement on NLIS data base.
There are several record keeping forms available to download at the LPA website which will ensure you keep the correct information. LPA record keeping templates.
On Farm audits can occur at anytime so keep records up to date.
*References are taken from the LPA and Agriculture Victoria websites
Author: Jim Seagar of Lighthorse Suffolks and Vice President of SSBAV