Record keeping for NLIS

Record Keeping

31 August 2021

Good records and systems are the foundation of the integrity system.

How do I keep good records for NLIS?

The NLIS provides identification and traceability of livestock. Established to enhance our ability to track livestock during disease and food safety incidents, NLIS provides the information that maximises market access for Australian red meat globally.

To ensure full traceability of all livestock, their movements must be recorded in the NLIS database. The information needed to record a movement will vary according to the origin and destination of the movement, and the type of identification tags attached to the livestock.

  • Movements of livestock with electronic RFID tags are recorded using the Livestock moved onto/off my property function
  • Movements of livestock with visual tags are recorded using the Mob-based movement onto/off my property function
  • Always check movements completed by third parties such as agents, saleyards and processors checking that the total number of livestock matches the number transferred.
  • Completing a PIC reconciliation annually or every few years is a good risk management tool. PIC reconciliations are similar to property stocktakes. They identify discrepancies between the actual number of electronic devices on a property, and the number of electronic devices registered to that property (PIC) on the NLIS Database. 

PIC reconciliations are especially important if a status is applied.

Status can be assigned to properties (PICs), livestock or devices, so that animals can be traced along the supply chain, for residue testing and food safety purposes.

If transfers between PICs are not completed on the NLIS database, animals that have physically left a PIC (but have not transferred on the database) may be automatically assigned a status. 

Some statuses may result in livestock unaccepted at saleyards, feedlots and processors.  Information on PIC and device status codes is available here.


How to record livestock movements

The information required to record a livestock movement on the NLIS database will vary according to the origin and destination of the movement, and the type of identification tags attached to the livestock.

Livestock movements with electronic tags – or RFID tags – should be recorded using the Livestock moved onto/off my property function. Access ISC's NLIS how-to guide for moving livestock onto or off a PIC (type in details) or how-to guide to moving livestock onto or off a PIC (file upload) for assistance with this.  Livestock movements with visual tags should be recorded using the mob-based movement onto/off my property function. Access ISC's NLIS how-to guide for moving mobs onto or off a PIC (type in details) or how to guide to moving mobs onto or off a PIC (file upload) for assistance with this. 


Who is responsible for movements?

If livestock are bought, sold or moved through a saleyard, the livestock movement must be recorded by the saleyard. For private sales – those that do not take place via a saleyard – the buyer/receiver of the livestock must record the livestock movement onto their property.

The vendor/sender of the livestock is not obligated to record the movement off their property, although they are encouraged to do so. They should check the movement has been made by the buyer/receiver.

Industry representative bodies have decided it is the buyer/receiver who makes the transfer and this has been legislated in each state.


Buying through an agent

If you buy stock privately through an agent, it is your responsibility as the receiver of stock to make sure the transfer is completed. While you can do it yourself, or ask your agent to do it for you, ISC recommends you clarify who will do it when the sale is made. You should ask for the Upload ID as a receipt to show it has been done if your agent completes the transfer. This Upload ID can be written on the NVD waybill that the stock arrive with – making it easy to check later and to show an LPA auditor.


Accidental sales or transfers

If livestock are accidentally sold by another producer and this is recorded on the NLIS database to your PIC, then this will generate a ‘system transfer’ warning. This is an automated warning from the database that notifies the PIC holder that an animal registered on their PIC has been moved off to another PIC. You will need to have an NLIS database account to receive the email notifications/warnings.


Read more about warning emails.

If the buyer does not perform the transfer, please contact them and ask them to do it. They should have the NVD from you with all the details to do it. You could also ask your agent to do it. Otherwise, you can do it yourself, but talk to your agent and buyer first to ensure they have not.

If the transfer is not recorded then lifetime traceability can be lost. The NLIS database automates animal movements so when an animal has missed a transfer the database knows that transfer has not been completed and therefore it loses lifetime traceability. In markets like China and the EU, which require lifetime traceability, animals not transferred on the database would not be eligible.

As a seller, it is imperative that you check the transfer has occurred. Make sure processors are completing that transfer as well so it aligns with your records.

You must ensure you receive and keep copies of LPA NVDs for all livestock transferred onto your PIC.  If you have misplaced or lost a copy of an LPA NVD then please contact the sender of the livestock and request a replacement copy. It is a requirement that a copy of the NVD is obtained as these records are checked as part of LPA auditing.

For EU-accredited cattle, failure to enter a European Union Vendor Declaration (EUVD) number will result in the animals losing their EU accreditation.

For sheep and goats with a visual tag, you will not be able to complete your mob-based movement on the database without an NVD/Waybill serial number.

If you have incorrectly recorded a livestock movement, you may be able to delete or correct it, depending on the circumstances of the movement. Refer to ISC's NLIS how-to guide for conducting a transfer correction or the how-to guide for conducting a mob-based transfer correction for more information.

Hobby farmers and NLIS

Hobby farmers must register livestock movements on the NLIS database, regardless of the property size or the number of animals on the property.

The timeframe for retaining records varies between LPA and state and territory requirements. 

ISC recommends you keep all records of all livestock registered on your PIC for as long as they are on your PIC.

If the animals are sold, retain the records for the livestock for either a minimum of seven years, or in accordance with your state or territory requirements. 

You can check state or territory requirements using this list of contacts.