TSU – Allflex Tissue Sampling Units – Identify the Difference

Allflex TSU

Allflex TSU (Tissue Sampling Units) are the best thing since sliced bread for sampling tissue.  Simple to use and quick.  The TSU applicator works similar to your ear tagging gun, except it takes a sample of the ear with it.  The sample is contained in a tube with a preservative to be then sent away for testing.  You can see the sample so you know you got it. 

Testing can be either serological (means blood), or replaces hair samples for genomics, dna or parenting.  These units are not species specific – pigs, sheep, cattle, alpaca’s, fish, horses, goats – whatever species you need tested you can do it.  Warning, not to be used on your children ! 

 You also avoid cross contamination and eliminating the human (error that is).  Lots of options for links between the animal and the sample.  Double checks can be done against your NLIS ear tags or management tag to be ‘paired, matched or linked’.  When you get the results – you know it is no bull !  Testing is expensive if you get duplicated samples or wrong identification numbers.

Laboratories currently accepting TSU’s include Sheep CRC and Genomics Testing, NSW DPI Diagnostics Animal Labs, Swan Veterinary Services, The University of Queensland Animal Genetics Laboratory (AGL) and of course Zoetis Australia.


EYCI – 700c plus – What a week

cattle-tags.com.au EYCI

Cattle prices have continued to break new records this week by surging through the 700¢/kg cwt mark on Tuesday.  Thursday the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) finished at 720.25¢/kg cwt, up 28.00¢/kg cwt week-on-week and 152.00¢/kg cwt above year-ago levels.  Dubbo was the highest at 745ckg cwt followed closely by CTLX at 742c/kg cwt.

The MLA report that this week, for the first time since early 2013, restockers accounted for an equal portion of EYCI eligible cattle purchases (45%) as feeder buyers.  EYCI eligible cattle purchased by restockers averaged 739¢/kg cwt this week, more than that of feeder buyers, at 716¢/kg cwt, and well above the processor buyers, at 681¢/kg cwt (albeit the EYCI is not the best indicator of prime cattle purchases).

These three things typically happen to the EYCI from August to the end of spring (November) as mentioned by the MLA.

1)    In 7 of the 10 past years the prices have eased.  In November the EYCI averaged lower compared to August (range of decline from 2% to 20%). The only three increases were modest – 1% in 2010, 5% in 2011 and 3% in 2015 – and these were all very wet years.  It has been pretty wet for a lot of cattle-tags.com.au clients this year.

2)    Restockers take a step back. 80% of the time, restockers have purchased a lower proportion of EYCI cattle, offset by a rise from feedlots. Interestingly, restockers purchased less in each of three wet years mentioned above.

3)    Processors purchase fewer EYCI cattle at the end of spring compared to the end of winter.

Information sourced from http://www.mla.com.au/prices-markets/Market-reports-prices/

NLIS ear tags are compulsory as part of selling your livestock.  Get in early for deals on Allflex, Leader, Datamars, Zeetags and Drovers.

Drovers Turbotag at Cattle-tags.com.au

Drovers TurboTags

Drovers have been providing livestock producers with quality livestock tags for over 30 years.  On August the 1st 2016, cattle-tags.com.au are now able to help Drovers clients with their NLIS ear tag requirements.  Orders can be placed online with us and the ear tags will be posted direct to you.

Please fill out the quote form or email us at orders@cattle-tags.com.au if we can save you money with large quantities discounts.  Make the most of record cattle prices – not seen in nearly 20 years and get your NLIS Drovers Turbotags online.

Click here to go strait to Drovers tags online at cattle-tags.com.au

The National Livestock Identification system requires all cattle to have an NLIS-accredited device like the turbotag.  There is a white ‘breeder’ tag which you order online with us and apply it into your livestock before they leave the property.  Livestock id (identification) then follows the animals for its life.  An orange ‘post breeder’ tag can also be purchased and is used if an animal looses its tags.  We have added the option when buying online to order a combination of breeder and post breeder ear tags all on the one screen.  Lets you get out into the paddock quicker or to enjoy your afternoon beer.

NLIS Rules

The National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLIS) is Australia’s compulsory tracing system for livestock – tracking every location of every sheep, goat, and cattle for its lifetime.

It has 3 main purposes:

  • Disease control
  • Chemical contamination control
  • Protection of Industry reputation

It works in 3 ways:

  • Identification of the animal (using a visual or electronic tag device)
  • Identification of the location of the animal (known as the Property Identification Code, or PIC)
  • Correlation and storage of the information via a web-based database

What you need to do to be NLIS Compliant

1) Obtain a Property Identification Code (PIC).
A PIC is an 8-character code used to identify your property. You must have a PIC to move livestock on and off your property. Obtain a PIC by contacting your State NLIS authority.

2) Register for an NLIS account.
Create your NLIS account here to see and record livestock movements on and off your property. It can take up to a week to get your account activated.

3)Order your NLIS-accredited ear tags
You’ve come to the right place. Some industries insist on electronic RFID tags, others allow for visual tags. We know the NLIS requirements for every industry. Order your NLIS approved tags here  (click to shop) now or contact us (click here for contact us details) for help getting the right tags for your needs.

4) Apply the NLIS-approved ear tags to your livestock.
You can order your applicators or watch how to apply your tags here. Contact us for further advice.

5) Record movements of your livestock on the NLIS database.
If the livestock is bought or sold through a saleyard or abattoir they will notify the NLIS for you. If the sale is private it is the RECEIVER’S responsibility to log the movements.

An animal’s movements between properties owned by the same producer must also be recorded if the properties have different Property Identification Codes (PICs), if an animal is moved to an adjustment property, an animal dies, or an animal is lost.

6) Get help from the NLIS
If you are having any difficulties accessing your NLIS account or need information about the compulsory livestock tracing system you can contact the NLIS Helpdesk on 1800 654 743 between 9am and 5pm Sydney time Monday to Friday or email support@nlis.com.au.

Since it’s Murphy’s Law things will go wrong on a weekend, evening or public holiday you might get a faster response to issues here.

Quick – I Need some ear tags

When Will I Get My Tags?

It is the busiest time of the year for the manufacturers at the moment.  Tags are normally dispatched within 5 working days – sometimes the same day – however it all depends on who the manufacturer is, how busy they are and what machine they use to produce your product.  We speed up the process by asking them to carefully pack and send the orders to you directly but they keep us informed of what stage your order is at and we chase them up for you if we think things are slower than they should be.


We let you know when your tags are on their way, as soon as  Allflex, Leader and Zeetags

Allflex – automatic email will let you know when the tags are on their way

Leader – Log on and check if tags have been sent

Zeetags – send us an email within 48 hours

There are peak times for tag ordering which can stretch out processing times so take advantage of our reminder service (read more here) and get in before the rest of the mob.

We have a great relationship with all our manufactures and we are lucky they will work like a bull at a gate to get our orders processed. If you need your tags urgently, let us know and we will do whatever we can to help get you ready for market.


How Will I Get My Tags?

We get the manufacturers to deliver the custom printed ear tags straight to you via a range of delivery services:


  • Allflex – regular, express post and TNT
  • Leader – regular and express post
  • Stockbrands – regular post
  • Wagin – regular post
  • Zee Tags – regular, express post and TNT

We follow up with the manufacturer and let you know when they are on their way.

If you have ordered from various manufacturers they will come in separate shipments.

Do I Have To Be There When My Order Arrives?

Each postie and courier is different. If you are happy to have your order left, tell us where on the Authority To Leave My Parcel If Not At Home section of your order form. We can’t guarantee this but, more often than not, the postie will if they can.


For regular and express Australia Post deliveries a PO Box is fine, or your farm address. Where the postie goes, so can your tags!!!


If your package is coming via courier it will have to go to a physical address within town – even if it is your local hair salon or favourite pub!


QLD NLIS – It Is All In The Form

Queensland, we need more from you to place your NLIS orders.

NLIS ear tags orders are controlled under the Stock Identification Regulation 2005. In Queensland (QLD) you need to give us confirmation you have a legitimate reason for buying NLIS devices. You also have to show that you are the person associated with a registered property identification code (PIC).

You do this through Biosecurity Queensland.

Biosecurity Queensland can be contacted on 13 25 23 (cost of a local call within Queensland) or 07 3404 6999 and are open weekdays from 8am to 5pm, except Thursdays when they open at 9am.

A Biosecurity Queensland inspector must give us the tick when your order is placed with us at eartags.com.au.

Yes it means filling in a form.

The forms have an expiry date but you can place more than one order with that form, provided you do so before it expires. After that you’ll need a new form. We give you the option to save a copy of your form when you log on so it is one less thing to remember.

Manufacturers and suppliers must record the order expiry dates and check that they haven’t expired before filling new orders.

Biosecurity Queensland also maintains records of expiry dates and conducts audits of manufacturers and suppliers.

Be sure to have your form ready when you place your order with us and always allow plenty of time between placing your order and the expected time of applying the tags.

Normal production time is at least a week. Allow additional time for freight or postage.

The form you need looks like this:

Sample of Queensland DPI form

How Smart Farms will change the world.

For most of us, livestock and the Internet seem worlds apart – only coming together when it is time to pay bills, update NLIS records or order ear tags from us (you can do that right now here). Little do people know, the Internet of Things (IoT) technology is the best thing since sliced bread.

Smart Farms are the way of the future.

IoT technology will allow farmers to address key issues dominating the livestock industry including:

  • Animal welfare
  • Livestock management
  • Productivity


There is no point waiting for production costs to come down. Like rain, it just doesn’t ever seem to happen. Instead, we will all benefit from increased production of high-quality Animal Welfare

There is also a push for more humane methods in production and  monitoring the overall health of the animals is key.  Access to technology helps us to identify changes in behaviour, such as prior to calving, kidding or lambing or if animals are ‘unwell’.

Smart farms are the way of the future for managing our properties and livestock. We will be able to embed internet connected sensors to our stock ensuring there is no discomfort and enabling us to monitor the information these sensors provide.

If any of the data we receive is outside the ‘norm’ we will be able to respond more quickly and provide treatment to the animal.

Livestock Management

GPS technology can help track an animal’s location and behaviour in the paddock. We will know when the feed ‘runs out’ because the sensors will let us know they are spreading out further in the paddock and grazing quickly. If the water is low, they will remain at the trough for longer.

NLIS will be a by-product of this management tool.  Stock theft would decrease.

I am excited by the benefits of this technology and the advancements being made through the Internet of Things which I believe far exceeds any costs associated with the sensor device.

Only time will tell where this all takes us.

An Interview with Jim Meckiff from Allflex

While out enjoying the New England Merino Field days, I came across Jim Meckiff, Sheep Business Manager for Allflex based in the Armidale and New England Region of NSW.

Not only did Jim update me on their success with the Allflex RapID Tags, but I was able to teach his girls Mabel, Violet and Polly that the taste they just experienced in their biscuits was not pepper but indeed ginger (a personal pet hate of my own btw).

More Australian farmers are enjoying the benefits of EID in their cattle and are now looking at the same technology for their sheep.

Allflex has responded to the growing demand for a lightweight EID (electronic identification) tag suitable for sheep with its RapID tag based on the well-established Flexitag in the Allflex 1 piece sheep and goat tag range.

These tags are HDX (which is short code for high performance transponder) so this makes for quick and easy tag reading. RapID tags come in belts of 20 and in 10 colours for convenient age indication.

The strips are loaded into a RapIDmatic applicator and applied like Flexitags.  But if you prefer, individual tags can be applied with the plier-type RapID tagger.

With the recent adoption of EID sheep regulations overseas, don’t be surprised if Australia is just around the corner, making this type of tag of interest to our sheep producers.

I asked Jim:

Who is buying Allflex RapID Tags?
The biggest demand is from Self Replacing Merino flocks and Studs.  The ease of recording lets them focus on breeding objectives such as fleece weights and fibre diameter.  This information is then used to benefits them further through the use of Rampower selection indexes or Sheep Genetics (SGA).

What do clients like the most about these tags?

  • They are NLIS accredited.
  • Fast application using RapIDmatic.
  • Wrap around tag.
  • Printing size and options.
  • Air flow reduces infection
  • The stem is durable preventing the tag from being cut out during shearing (If shearers connect with the stem it will lock up the hand piece)

How easy are they to put in?
No longer is tagging the slow job at lamb marking.  The RapID can be applied very simply and effectively for single use or, when speed and efficiency is needed, using the RapIDmatic applicator.

What is the best ear placement for the RapID?
It is usually best to follow the directions. Be sure to allow for ear growth, especially with big-eared sheep, because if the tag is too central it might cause irritation.

What else should we know about these electronic sheep ear tags?
Tremendous opportunities exist for sheep producers to use the Allflex RapID tag RFID for collecting data on individual animals and using that to assist with selection or management decisions.  Sheep producers no longer accept that ‘average performance’ is good enough.  Gains in production or reproduction performance   are easily achievable using Allflex RapID tag as a management tool.