The Importance of Marking Livestock

The branding of livestock dates back to ancient Egyptian and Roman civilisations, and has long been used as a method for identifying ownership of animals kept in open-grazing environments. In many western states of the United States brands must still be registered, and form the primary method of determining livestock ownership. However, marking livestock is no longer limited to branding, with modern techniques such as ear marking, visual ear tagging, RFID ear tagging and rumen boluses (ceramic capsules administered orally to cattle) performing a similar role.

Although techniques may have changed, the primary purpose of marking livestock remains a method for identification. As systems have developed, the uses of identification have extended beyond ownership disputes. In Australia, ear tagging and marking now form the basis of the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS), the system used for tracing cattle, sheep and goats for biosecurity, food safety, product integrity and market access purposes. Similar systems exist in other countries, such as the National Animal Identification System in the United States, the British Cattle Movement Service, and the National Animal Identification and Tracing system being developed in New Zealand.

Under the NLIS, cattle must be marked with an ear tag or a combination of a rumen bolus and visual ear tag. Sheep and goats are marked with a visual ear tag or an RFID ear tag. Branding of livestock is also included within the NLIS in Western Australia, and the requirement for ear marking varies by state. It is intended to ensure the safety and quality of meat by tracking livestock from birth to slaughter. For example, all cattle treated with a hormonal growth implant must be permanently identified with a triangular ear mark in the middle of the right ear. Furthermore, marking livestock in this way allows for a database of animal residency and interaction with other animals to be kept. This aids in disease identification and management, and can help prevent widespread outbreaks.

In addition to differentiation of livestock between farms, forms of livestock marking are important to differentiate livestock within farms. Numbering systems using neck chains, nose printing, tattooing and electronic systems are common for identifying individual animals within a farm. This may be required to keep track of the age of animals, and also assists in identification in sale rings or during exhibiting shows.

Branding remains particularly important for identifying breeds of horses, such as Thoroughbreds, Stock Horses and Arabians. It is required by regulations in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, among other countries. Branding of horses is usually performed by freeze branding, altering the pigment of the hair.

Livestock branding and marking has evolved from a simple system for identifying ownership to a complex RFID and electronic-based tracking. While ownership is still an important part of livestock marking, new technology has significantly extended its usefulness. It is now a vital part of strategies developed to ensure the quality and safety of meat, and to prevent the spread of disease.

The Australian Livestock Export Industry – Committed To Animal Welfare

Australian livestock exporters and producers are genuinely committed to animal health and welfare. Australian farmers are proud of the quality of the livestock they raise, and delivering these animals in good condition to our export markets in partnership with animal exporters underpins their livelihoods.

Healthy and humanely treated a are the number one priority of Australia’s livestock export industry, and the industry leads by example, operating under the highest standards in the world.

The industry is one of the most highly regulated industries by the Australian Government, with the detailed requirements of the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock ensuring that all animals are exported on high quality vessels where they have room to walk around, lie down and have constant access to fresh food, fresh water and fresh air. These strict standards also ensure that Australian stockmen and veterinarians accompany live exports on their voyages overseas.

In partnership with the Australian Government, the livestock export industry also opens its wallet and provides substantial resources to ensure Australia’s commitment to animal welfare is extended beyond our shores to overseas marketplaces. Australia’s live export industry draws on the skills of a broad range of people to deliver improvements in animal welfare outcomes in the markets we export to, and Australia is the only nation in the world to:

• Employ teams of animal welfare specialists in the countries that it exports livestock to;
• Fund infrastructure and equipment upgrades in overseas markets; and
• Actively train and educate importing countries on managing its livestock and the importance of animal welfare.

The resulting improvements in animal welfare benefit all livestock in the countries we export to across the Middle East and South East Asia, regardless of where they are imported from. Through Australia’s investment, innovation and long term commitment to animal welfare we are lifting the standards for livestock export globally.

While Australian live exporters and producers are proud of the consistent and substantial improvements the industry has made to animal welfare outcomes in overseas export markets, they also acknowledge that reaching today’s standards has been a process of constant improvement and that there is still more work to be done.

The livestock export industry has seen great improvements across the Middle East and South East Asia over the last five years, but the industry’s investment will continue because there are still opportunities to improve.

In summary, Australian livestock exporters and producers are global leaders in animal health and welfare, consistently lifting standards at home and across Australia’s livestock export markets. To see the difference watch this industry information video.

The Recommended Livestock to Start With In Your Farm Ranch

A lot of people are beginning to see the advantages of owning a livestock farm. They are moving from urban areas to the country side to start their own farm. Livestock farming is very rewarding because you can provide food for your family and make some money as well from the livestock products.

But when starting out as a livestock farmer there is a lot to learn about raising livestock. Some livestock require more care and management then others. Two types of livestock that require less care and are beginner friendly are chickens and goats. Below we are going to cover in more detail how you can go about raising these animals.


Before you buy your goats you should ask yourself what kind of goats do I want to raise. There are meat goats, milk goats and pet goats. For milk production its best to choose Alpine and Saanen goats. For meat look no further then the South African Boer goats, and goats that are suitable to being pets are Miniature or Nigerian Dwarf goats.

Once you have chosen the type of goat you want to raise the next thing is to make sure you have enough land to build your goats some shelter and for them to graze. Goats like feeding on pasture so you should provide that for them in order for them to be healthy and produce quality products.

The goat shelter can be a small shed or barn. The shelter will be their home where they will sleep and be sheltered from extensive heat. The shelter should be kept clean and draft-free. If the shelter is cleaned it will help in decreasing the spread of bacteria that causes diseases.


More and more people are starting to raise chickens in their farm yards. When starting out in raising chickens just like raising goats you have to choose your breed. Do you want to raise chickens for eggs or raise chickens for meat?

Once you have made your decision on what type of chickens you want to raise the next step is to build a chicken coop. Some farmers even use chicken tractors and livestock barns, but neither way chickens need a place to call home. A chicken coop is where your chickens will sleep, lay their eggs and get protection from heat and predators.

When the chickens arrive in your farm the first thing they will want to do is eat. So make sure you have chicken feed available for them. Chicken feed differs according to the age of the chicken. If you are going to buy chicks then growing mash is required and if you are going to buy laying chickens then laying mash is required.