Important Changes to Animal Identification – Sept 2021

As members begin to register their calves born in spring 2021, it is timely to remind members advised of two important changes that apply to the identification of animals that were born from January 1st, 2021 onwards.


  1. Change to Animal IDs
    The unique animal ID assigned to each animal recorded with Angus Australia consists of the breeder’s herd identifier, a breeding year letter and an animal number. e.g. ABCS1.While this animal ID format has served the Angus breed well for many years, it has a major shortcoming being the duplication of animal IDs every 24 years. For example, ABCS1 (birth year 1973), ABCS1 (birth year 1997) and ABCS1 (birth year 2021).This shortcoming requires Angus Australia to add a suffix to the animal ID for animals born greater than 24 years ago (e.g. ABCR1+72, ABCR1+96), which causes considerable problems in circumstances where the original animal ID has previously been recorded in other databases. For example, in herd recording software programs managed by individual members, or when animals have been recorded with overseas Breed Societies.

To remove the duplication of animal IDs, the unique animal ID assigned to animals with a birth date of 1/1/2021 onwards will be changed to consist of the breeder’s herd identifier, a two character year of birth, a breeding year letter and an animal number. That is, rather than ABCS1, the animal ID assigned will be ABC21S1.

The change will only apply to the ID of animals born from 1/1/2021 onwards. No change will be made retrospectively to the ID of animals already recorded with Angus Australia, or who are recorded in the future but are born prior to 1/1/2021.
Further, the change in format only applies to the animal ID assigned by Angus Australia, and does not require any change to the current practice of displaying only the year letter and number (e.g. R1) when tagging, tattooing or branding animals.

The change to the animal ID format for animals born from 1/1/2021 onwards will ensure the animal ID assigned to animals is indeed unique, and will remove the current difficulties and inconvenience to Angus Australia, members and other organisations that result from the need to add a suffix to the IDs of historic animals that are born more than 24 years ago.

  1. Requirement for NLIS ID
    The manner in which animals recorded on Angus Australia’s Herdbook Register (HBR), Angus Performance Register (APR), or Multibreed Register (MBR) need to be permanently identified are outlined in the Angus Australia Regulations.Specifically, at least one form of permanent identification must be applied to an animal prior to weaning, being either a tattoo, freeze or fire brand, or a NLIS tag, followed by a requirement to apply a second form of permanent identification before the animal is 18 months of age.With NLIS now entrenched as Australia’s National Livestock Identification System, the Angus Australia Board has resolved to make it a requirement for NLIS to be used as one of the forms of permanent identification, with members able to elect whether they apply either a tattoo or freeze brand as the second form of permanent identification.

    The revised Regulations will be applied to animals born from 1/1/2021 onwards, and now read:
    Every animal in the HBR, APR, or MBR shall have an approved National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLIS) tag applied to the right ear; and either:

    (i)  Be tattooed in the left ear with the registered tattoo mark of the Breeder; and, in either the left or right ear with a breeding year letter and animal number; or
    (ii) Have a freeze or fire brand applied that includes the registered brand symbol, relevant year letter and animal number.

    6.34 Every animal recorded in the HBR, APR or MBR shall have a minimum of one form of permanent identification applied by weaning, and two forms of permanent identification applied by 18 months of age.

    6.35 Either the visual NLIS number or NLIS RFID of every animal recorded in the HBR, APR or MBR must be recorded with the Society before the animal is 12 months of age. If a NLIS tag is replaced for any reason, the Society must be notified of the new number or RFID within 30 days of application.

    The availability of NLIS identification for all animals on the Angus Australia database born after 1/1/2021 will make the process for confirming the Angus Australia ID for an animal easier, facilitating a more seamless process for confirming the ownership and registration details of Angus seedstock animals.

    Questions and Further Information

    To further discuss these two important changes applying to the identification of animals born from January 1st, 2021 onwards, please contact staff at Angus Australia.