New Zealand to begin electronic tagging for cattle from July 1

New Zealand has introduced electronic tracking of its cattle. (Image source: Geraint Morgan/Flickr)

 National Animal Identification and Tracing (Nait), a computerised system to trace New Zealands livestock through the international marketplace, will become operational from July 1

The electronic tagging system for deer and cattle is aimed at boosting biosecurity by tracing livestock from the time of birth. The scheme will prove beneficial in the event of a biosecurity outbreak and will enable a quick and efficient response reducing the impact on the agriculture sector and New Zealand's economy in general.

Nait will also require farmers to maintain records of all deaths, losses or exports of live cattle or deer. Electronic tracking for deer will begin from March 2013.

The scheme will make it mandatory by law for farmers to tag all animals with a radio frequency identification device (RFID) ear tag that will provide timely information on a particular animal’s movements.

Being able to trace animals from birth to processing will help enhance New Zealand’s international reputation for producing high-quality food.

The Nait scheme has about 30,000 people and their properties registered on the database, which will store information about each animal's RFID number, location, and the contact details of the person in charge of the animal.