Joanna Grigg

Activating tags is a step some farmers are missing in the NAIT system.

It is a legal requirement for a person in charge of animals to tag and register cattle and deer within six months of birth or before moving them off-farm – whichever comes first.

What is sometimes not understood is the RFID tags put in the ears must be registered to the farm NAIT number. This activates them – making animals ready for transfer as store or prime down the track. It should be done within seven days of being tagged, or before their first movement off farm – whichever comes first.

Inactivated tags received at the processing plant (or to another NAIT number) may attract a fine.

The activation process means logging on to NAIT online, selecting the tag numbers and giving the animals, as a minimum, a month and year of birth and saying whether deer, or beef or dairy cattle.

The tags purchased should be listed against the farm NAIT number, sitting there waiting to be activated.

If the serial number range of the tags gone into the ears is known, use the ‘Select from a list of tags you have purchased’ option and type this tag sequence range in the search section of the Register Tags page. Then register.

If the mob has been scanned and the numbers are on an electronic file, use the option ‘Upload a file with tag numbers’. The file has to be formatted correctly to work. Then register the tags with birth date and production type, e.g. beef. Both options involving selecting all the animals, registering them all in one go with the same date of birth.

If the tag serial sequence is misplaced or tags used weren’t in any serial order, or no electronic file has been created, then tags may have to be individually read, written down on paper, then entered and activated in NAIT, number by number. This will take more time but is also an option.

NAIT can help talk farmer’s through the process.

Most commercial operations tag mixed-sex calves at weaning. Typically, calves are not separated along gender lines and scanned in two mobs, so farmers can’t tell whether a tag went to a heifer or steer. This is not an issue for NAIT, as long as the birth year and month, and production type is registered.

Some farmers choose to put in a secondary visual panel tag in addition to the NAIT RFID tag to make visually identifying an animal easier. The NAIT online system enables a secondary tag to be linked to the NAIT RFID tag when registering an animal. NAIT recommends keeping a record of visual panel tags and NAIT RFIDs for replacement tagging purposes.