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Are you daunted just a little by the NLIS database, all those numbers… what if I press the wrong button, what are all the acronyms?

Don’t fear, you are not alone; I have been fielding a few enquiries of this nature lately, so thought I would address some of the myths and concerns.

First thing’s first… have you actually got an NLIS database account? If not; it really is time that you set one up – it’s easy and free. Click here and follow the REGISTER button to complete your set up. You will need to know your PIC or PIC’s. Once you have submitted your application you will receive your user ID and a password via email – as easy as that. You are now ready to log in!

I know the first thing you are going to be keen to do when you log in is find out how many animals are on your PIC. So let’s deal with that: in the dropdown box that says ‘What do you want to do today?’ Scroll down to the Reports section and select ‘View devices on my property’, and select Go. If you have multiple PIC’s you will need to select the appropriate one and again select GO. This is often the point where panic may set in….. ‘But I don’t have 2000 animals’? I hear you say. You need to remember that this list is also made up with your un-used tags, and if you have never completed a PIC reconciliation you may have a lot of old devices that have either missed being transferred or died  that need to be made Inactive.

The screenshot below shows what you will be able to see and this information can be exported into an excel spreadsheet for further analysis. There are also tips and shortcuts that can be helpful if you want to sort or group this information. If you are ready for that, perhaps get in touch and I can work you through these tips.

So now that you have discovered that your database account needs a clean-up, let’s do that. The function we will be using is ‘PIC reconciliation’. But before you go to this report there are a few things you need to do. An effective PIC reconciliation can only be done if you have an up to date list of ALL the NLIS devices currently on your property. There are a couple of ways to obtain this:

  1. If you have an NLIS reader and perhaps at the moment ALL cattle are coming through the yards for their annual vaccination, simply read them with your NLIS reader.
  2. If you have effective record keeping and all your animals are recorded in your system (whatever that may be) you may well be able to generate a file of ALL of your animals.

Remember, to effectively reconcile this list it needs to be inclusive, so it will also include your spare devices – and don’t forget animals like bulls etc that you may have running separately! Think of this like your end-of-season stocktake.

Once you have your list of devices on your computer, perhaps in an excel spreadsheet, you are ready to run your PIC reconciliation.

So let’s go back to our NLIS database home page and select ‘What do I want to do today’ and under the heading of ‘Notify the database of’, scroll down and select PIC reconciliation. You are presented with two options here. If you are new to the NLIS database or not so comfortable with excel or csv files, I encourage you to select the option ‘type in the details’.

Copy and paste your entire list of devices into the box shown, select your PIC and continue. You will then receive the results of your reconciliation and the instructions on what to do next to fix this up – the instructions will include:

  1. Assigning un-scanned tags to ‘Inactive’
  2. Or remove an Inactive status if animals were scanned but not active on your database account (make them Active).

Done! You have completed your first NLIS database PIC reconciliation; well done.

My tip is that you build this into your yearly planner as an annual task; as I said it really is like doing your Stocktake. Generally producers find it easiest to do this at a time when all your animals will be coming through the yards, perhaps at pregnancy testing or prior to calving. If you are in the habit of doing this on an annual basis you should find that your database account remains quite accurate.

The opportunities that flow from this may mean EU market accreditation becomes more achievable.

Now that I hope you are a little more comfortable with using the NLIS database, take a look around and use it. If you are keen to go to the next step and learn some of the tips and shortcuts I’d be pleased to help you.

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