Tagging with technology

by Andy Bryenton

The importance of correct tagging of livestock animals has been thrown into stark relief due to the ongoing M bovis containment and eradication program, but the usefulness of a quick, accurate means of tracking animals can never be overstated.

To make things easier, NAIT, the organisation tasked with coordinating National Animal Identification and Tracking, rolled out a new digital mapping system early this year. It uses a computer interface with Land Information New Zealand data to assign every NAIT registered farm with a number, helping match individual animals to a specific property. Multiple locations comprising a single agricultural enterprise within a 10-kilometre radius can all share the same NAIT number.

However, when moving a herd, it’s not possible to uplift this number and carry it with you.

Farmers engaged in Gypsy week movements will have been pre-appraised of this, but there are also a large number of lifestyle block owners who maintain small numbers of stock, and they may as yet be out of the loop. As this is the first Gypsy day following the roll-out of the digital mapping initiative, NAIT authorities wish to remind all livestock owners and managers of two vital things to do.

Firstly, if you are moving existing, tagged livestock onto a new farm, please visit the NAIT website at ospri.co.nz/our-programmes/nait to register a new number for your new location. It’s easy to pinpoint where you are on the digital map.

Secondly, if a herd is remaining in place, but a new Person In Control of Animals is taking charge, they, too, need to register. When they do, they will have access to extensive NAIT records of animal movements at their new location.

With this new approach, it will be even easier than before to coordinate animal movements and ensure that the livestock sector remains healthy and profitable.