The extension of electronic identification to all sheep was first announced in May 2018. In an effort to facilitate keepers in using up stocks of conventional tags, the implementation date for the new rules was extended to 1 June 2019, thereby allowing the use of single conventional tags for the movement of lambs under 12 months up to 31 May. Tag suppliers approved under the National Sheep Identification System (NSIS) have generally only been permitted to sell electronic tags since 1 October 2018.
Officials at my Department have written to keepers on a number of occasions since September last year, advising them of the new rules and encouraging them to use existing stocks of conventional tags by 31 May. However should any farmers still have unused stocks of conventional yellow marts tags they can purchase matching single EID tags from their chosen tag supplier to create full EID tag sets.
The new sheep identification rules that came into operation on 1 June 2019 require that all sheep moved from any holding from that date must be identified electronically. S.I. 309 of 2011, which transposes Council Regulation (EU) 21/20014 regarding the identification of sheep into national law, has been amended by S.I. 243 of 2019, giving legal effect to this change. Accordingly, there are no circumstances under which farmers can move sheep that are identified only with a single conventional (non-electronic) tag.