Pig Identification

In Australia, pigs over a specified weight or age must be branded before being moved to another property. This applies to movements to another property where a change of ownership takes place, to saleyards, and to abattoirs.

Brands are applied to pigs using a "slap brand". This is a striker dipped in a carbon based ink, and the tattoo or impression it leaves will last for around 20 days. For this reason, brands are often referred to as "tattoos" or "tattoo numbers". It is best to brand pigs just before they are due to be moved.

Branding is done so that pigs can be linked back to the property that they came from. The PigPass system records which brand(s) are being used on each property, as well as each mob of pigs being moved. In many cases properties use more than one brand, but these brands are all linked back to that property.

In Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia your brand number will be issued to you by the relevant state authority (usually the DPI). In NSW, you must register your brand number, which is the last six digits of your PIC, with Local Land Services. More information can be found in the table below:

 

State
Who do I need to contact?
What are the tattoo/brand requirements?
Correct Format
PIC
Tattoo/Brand
QLD
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Ph: 13 25 23
Pigs 30kg or over must be identified with a slap brand registered to the property before travelling to another property where a change of ownership takes place, to saleyards, or to abattoirs. For more information see here. You can search the Queensland brands database here.
Four letters beginning with Q, followed by four numbers 
One number followed by three letters
NSW
Local Land Services
Ph: 1300 795 299
Pigs over 25 kg that are consigned to a saleyard, abattoir, or consigned to another property must be branded with a carbon ink shoulder brand. For more information see here.
Two letters beginning with N, followed by six numbers
The last six numbers of the PIC
VIC
Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Ph: 1800 678 779
All pigs being consigned for sale, or to an abattoir for slaughter, must be identified by either a tattoo brand or ear tag, depending on bodyweight, before they leave their property of origin.
Pigs less than 25 kg body weight must be tagged with an approved ear tag. This tag has the same numbers as the tattoo brand.
Pigs over 25 kg body weight are required to be tattooed with the owner's tattoo brand.
Pigs that have been purchased earlier and are then sold must be tattooed with the current dispatching property tattoo brand. For more information see here.
Four letters beginning with V, followed by four numbers
OR
Number 3 followed by four letters then three numbers
The number three followed by three letters
TAS
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
Ph: 03 6165 3240
It is compulsory to tattoo the shoulder of all pigs over 10 weeks of age with a registered body tattoo within the seven days prior to leaving the property for sale or slaughter.
For more information see here.
Four letters beginning with M, followed by four numbers
Three letters
SA
Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA)
Ph: 08 8207 7919
Pig producers must brand their pigs over 20kg with a registered brand within seven days before sale.
The brand must be placed on the left shoulder for pigs bred from the owner’s stock or on the right shoulder for pigs that have been bought. Therefore some pigs being slaughtered may be branded on both shoulders. For more information see here.
Two letters beginning with S, followed by six numbers
Three letters
WA
Department of Agriculture and Food
Ph: 08 9753 0302
Pigs over the age of 10 weeks must have an approved identifier or be tattooed with the five-digit pig brand within seven days of being removed from the property. For more information see here. You can search the DAFWA brand register here.
Four letters beginning with W, followed by four numbers
Five numbers separated by a /

 

Once I've been issued with a brand number, how do I apply it to my pigs?

You need to tattoo your pigs using a "slap brand" or "striker". This is a tool for applying the brand to the pig's shoulder, and is unique to your brand number. You can purchase a slap brand from many rural suppliers. APL maintains a list of suppliers here.

If you are a supplier who makes or sells slap brands, and you would like to be included on this list, then please let us know by calling 1800 001 458.

Ear Tags

Ear tags are also available through many rural suppliers. Producers should always consider the welfare of the pig when choosing an appropriate ear tag. The tag you use should be permanent and the number printed on it should be permanent and visually readable. Apply the tag just before you want to move the pigs to minimise time in which tags can be lost. All states have different regulations regarding the use of ear tags, so ear tags are not always appropriate or legal. It is recommended that a tattoo/brand is used to identify larger pigs.

The main reason that brands are preferred over ear tags is that they are able to be read from the carcass of a pig.

Do I need to identify weaners?

Identification of weaner pigs (pigs under the minimum branding weight) is not required at present by law, in NSW, SA, WA and TAS. However, it is recommended that weaners are identified before movement to maintain traceability and your buyer or abattoirs may require this. Currently the recommended means of identifying weaners is an ear tag displaying the Property Identification Code (PIC) of the property of origin unless state regulations specify otherwise. If you are unsure of your requirements, check with your abattoir or buyer before moving your pigs.

Property Identification

A Property Identification Code (PIC) is a unique identifier designed to for keeping livestock. PICs are assigned to individual properties by Local Land Services in NSW and by the Department of Primary Industries in other states.

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