THE Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) of WA has welcomed the delayed rollout of mandatory electronic identification (eID) in sheep, although it was disappointed the new changes did not apply to sheep born after January 1, 2025.
WA Agriculture and Food Minister Jackie Jarvis last week revealed the start date for two onfarm sheep and goat eID national implementation plan milestones had been extended from January 1, 2025 to July 1, 2026.
Mandatory eID tagging of all managed farmed sheep and goats (excluding newborns) before leaving a property;
Property to property movements recorded on the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) database.
Meanwhile, the mandatory scanning of eID at both saleyards and abattoirs was also deferred from January 1, 2025 until July 1, 2025.
The announcement came after a written request from the PGA to Ms Jarvis on September 27.
Speaking to Farm Weekly earlier this month, PGA livestock committee chairman Chris Patmore said it was "madness" to impose another cost on sheep enterprises, particularly when many would already be operating at a loss.
As such, Mr Patmore called upon Ms Jarvis to postpone the implementation of eIDs until the industry returned to profitability, with many sheep now being sold for less than the value of a $2 tag.
He has since thanked State government for pushing back the deadline, however he said it was mandatory eID tagging of lambs that was the biggest concern.
The Eneabba farmer said it was disappointing neither PGA or the WA Sheep and Goat Advisory Committee was directly informed about the decision.
"The new changes apply only to sheep with an existing visual tag," Mr Patmore said.
"We were hoping for the entire mandatory eID process to be pushed back, including in sheep born after January 1, 2025.
"Unfortunately there's no compromise there - sheep born after that date still need to be fitted with an eID tag when leaving a property.
"It would have been good, and relieved a lot more pressure for producers, if that milestone was also extended until July 2026."
Ms Jarvis advised national colleagues of amendments to WA's implementation timelines for sheep and goats on October 6.
She said the changes were made in response to firsthand feedback from the WA Sheep and Goat Advisory Committee and some sheep producers, and when better suited to WA farming conditions.
"The amendments allow WA to take a considered approach to implementation, while still maintaining momentum," Ms Jarvis said.
"As I've always said I will continue to advocate for farmers in WA."
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