The state government is to provide $460,000 to the Hamilton Regional Livestock Exchange for the installation of new sheep electronic identification (eID) scanning technology to meet new government requirements.
State agriculture minister Jaala Pulford said the money would be used to buy and install new state-of-the-art laneway and draft readers as well as recently updated software and data logging equipment.
Hamilton will be the first major saleyard in Australia to be granted funds to install equipment to scan electronically tagged sheep and goats and upload the information to the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS).
The Hamilton saleyards handles almost one million sheep a year – making it one of the largest in the state.
It received funding for the eID system through a state government funding program that helps saleyards transition to implementing eID by March 31 next year.
Ms Pulford said the government had promised it would not let the sheep industry handle the cost of the new eID system alone.
The saleyards has selected an eID system after extensive consultation with local stock agents, transporters and saleyard staff, and with assistance from a specialist contractor.
The planning and design phase for the new infrastructure was also supported by the government’s transition package.
Hamilton Regional Livestock Exchange manager Chris Dahlenburg said the system chosen would involve eID scanners on the seven drafts at the saleyards as well as a laneway scanner and hand held scanners.
Mr Dahlenburg said the saleyards was still going through the procurement process to obtain the eID system.
“We are right at the start of it,” Mr Dahlenburg said.
He said he did not expect any work to begin on installing the system until after Christmas.
Hamilton is one of 22 saleyards that submitted applications for electronic identification infrastructure funding to Agriculture Victoria.
With the Hamilton saleyards currently going through its peak period selling spring lambs, Hamilton stock agents have expressed doubt the eID system will be operating by March 31.
However Mr Dahlenburg has said the saleyards would seek to meet the deadline.
He said the government grant should cover the cost of the new system.
Since January 1 this year, all sheep and goats born in Victoria have been required to have an electronic NLIS (Sheep) identification tag before being dispatched from their property of birth.
The new requirements aim to improve traceability and efficiency across the sheep supply chain and protect access to export markets