Restoring lifetime traceability in the NLIS

Restoring lifetime traceability in the NLIS

November 03 2021

Have you received an email warning from the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) about loss of lifetime traceability (LT) for livestock that you have sold, moved or purchased?

Read on to find out what this means and the options you have for restoring LT if this is required.

How do I know I’ve been given this warning?

Loss of LT warnings are generated automatically by the NLIS database when it detects a gap in the movement records of an animal with electronic NLIS devices1. This gap is detected when a transfer is completed in the NLIS database, transferring animals from a property identification code (PIC) they are not registered to.

You may receive a loss of LT warning if this animal or animals have been on, or are currently on, your PIC.  The type of warning you receive will depend on how you are involved in the transfer.  

When animals move through a saleyard the following warnings are issued to the parties involved:

  • Warning 6A - sent to the PIC the animals were registered to, in NLIS
  • Warning 6B - sent to the PIC animals physically moved from
  • Warning 6S - sent to the saleyard that completed the movement

When animals move from one PIC to another, in a property to property transfer, the following warnings are issued to the parties involved:

  • Warning 21A - sent to the PIC the animals were registered to, in NLIS
  • Warning 21B - sent to the PIC the animals were physically moved from
  • Warning 21C - sent to the PIC of the receiver/purchaser
  • Warning 21U - sent to the NLIS account holder that completed the transfer (could be an agent).

These warnings are sent to the email address linked to each NLIS database account and the warning type is listed in the heading of the email. Find out more about logging in to your NLIS account.

What does a loss of LT warning mean?

There are four possible reasons why you may have received a loss of LT warning:

  1. Animals registered to your PIC have been transferred off another PIC. This may be because:
  • You sold the animals and the transfer was not completed by the new owner, the saleyards or agent
  • You moved the animals to another property with a different PIC and the transfer was not completed
  • Your animals have strayed to another property/PIC and have been transferred from here, to another PIC.
  1. Animals have been transferred from your PIC but were not registered as being there in the database. This could be because:
  • You purchased the animals but the transfer was not completed either by you, your agent or the saleyards
  • You moved the animals from another PIC (e.g. another property you own or they were on agistment) back to your PIC, but the transfer was not completed
  • Someone else’s animals have strayed onto your property and you have inadvertently transferred them to another PIC.
  1. Animals have been moved onto your PIC from a PIC they were not registered to. This is most likely because:
  • A past transfer has not been completed for these animals. As they were not registered to the ‘Vendor PIC’ these animals have now lost LT.
  1. You have completed a transfer of livestock for someone else and are being advised that the animal/s you transferred were not registered as belonging to the ‘Vendor PIC’ (Warning 6S or Warning 21U).

What should I do if I receive a warning?

If you receive a loss of LT warning and you are:

  • the receiver of livestock, access this guide for more information on what has occurred, and to find out how you may be able to restore LT for your animals
  • the person completing a transfer on behalf of someone else (i.e. you are a livestock agent or other third party), access this guide to find out what you may need to do in this situation.

If you receive a loss of LT warning and:

  • you no longer own the livestock
  • the livestock are no longer on your property, or
  • you do not require your livestock to have LT

you are not required to act, but it is important to note that loss of LT could reduce the marketing options for these livestock. The fact that you did not transfer the animals onto your PIC could be a potential breach of legislation and a breach of the Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) rules and standards, which may trigger a targeted LPA audit if you are LPA-accredited.

Loss of LT can also impact the effective management of animal disease or food safety incidents, as past livestock movements will need to be tracked via movement documentation (such as NVDs) rather than via the NLIS database.

However, if you receive a loss of LT warning that animals registered to your PIC have been moved off another PIC, it is recommended you check why this may have occurred. 

Preventing loss of LT 

Maintaining the LT of livestock is important to ensure market access and the effective management of disease and food safety incidents. All producers have a role to play in maintaining LT by:

  1. Ensuring all livestock transfers are completed in your NLIS account. See here for more information and help with completing livestock transfers.
  2. Before selling cattle not born on your property, scan the mob and run a beast enquiry in the NLIS database to make sure all bought in livestock are registered to your PIC, before the buyer transfers them off your property.
  3. Requesting a check of lifetime traceability (LT) before purchasing livestock. If purchasing through a saleyard this can be accessed via the pre-sale report.
  4. Taking immediate action to fix any problems identified by warning emails sent to them by the NLIS. If one or more transfers have been completed after a missed transfer then it is difficult to restore LT.

More information

ISC Customer Service is also available to provide more help with NLIS at or on 1800 683 111 between 8am and 7pm (AEDT), Monday to Friday. Please refer to the NLIS email warning you have received if you require assistance to address the warning.


  1. Loss of LT does not occur for goats or sheep identified with visual NLIS devices that are transferred as a mob, because these animals are not individually identified. Loss of LT does occur for sheep and goats fitted with electronic NLIS devices (eID), if transfers are not completed.