Recent flooding has damaged fences on many Victorian properties. As a result, cattle and sheep have strayed, often a considerable distance from their owner’s property.
The Victorian Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is able to assist producers to locate the owners of stray stock.
DPI Director Animal Biosecurity and Welfare, Tony Britt, said if a producer finds stray stock and is able to read the number on the NLIS (Cattle) or NLIS (Sheep & Goats) tags that they carry, they should contact DPI on 136 186.
Dr Britt said with cattle, the visually readable 16 character number printed on each NLIS (Cattle) tag, or alternatively the scanned electronic number, uniquely identified each animal.
"By using the NLIS database, it is typically a straightforward process to establish the property from which the cattle have strayed," Dr Britt said.
"Sheep and goats are typically identified with a visually readable NLIS (Sheep) tag on which is printed the Property Identification Code (PIC) of the property of birth.
"If sheep or goats were still on the properties on which they were born when they strayed, the PIC on the tag can be used to identify the owner."
Dr Britt said many flood affected producers have, or are about to shift stock to agistment properties.
"It is important that stock are tagged prior to dispatch to ensure that the correct stock are returned when the flood waters have receded and fences have been repaired," he said.
DPI is able to supply NLIS (Cattle) tags at short notice to flood affected producers, often by overnight Express Post. If flood affected producers need to access NLIS (Cattle) tags quickly, they can call DPI’s NLIS Helpline on 1800 678 779 during office hours.
Dr Britt said NLIS (Cattle) tags would be provided free of charge to producers who urgently need to move cattle because of the floods.
"Boundary fencing may have been damaged by the floods so producers should check for damage and take steps to prevent their livestock from straying," he said.
“It is also important that producers monitor their livestock and act promptly to protect their health and welfare following the flood.”