New technology is being used in Victorian saleyards to track the movement of livestock from interstate, and could help authorities stop the spread of an emergency animal disease in the future.
The black box technology is being rolled out across saleyards and scans the electric identification ear tags of livestock.
The data from the tags is loaded to a virtual cloud so authorities can track the movement of sheep and cattle.
Agriculture Victoria livestock traceability manager Ben Fahy said the technology was ideal for analysing interstate stock movements, but not every transit depot had the technology in place.
"We know saleyards operate as transit centres as well as saleyards and so for the stock that comes into the yards outside of sale day, it's really important to capture the tag data and see that those animals have been on that site," he said.
"When you look at the travel distance from the Northern Territory down to Victoria, there's a point that they will stop off and rest, they might even change trucks.
"What we want to see is that point where they stop off and for some it's being recorded, but for others it's not, and we know there are places that they are stopping and we're not getting that key data."
The black box was originally designed by Agriculture Victoria, which developed a prototype and proof of concept, before Bendigo-based company Shearwell Australia commercialised the product.
Ag company Allflex produces digital readers for saleyards to record National Livestock Identification System data and uses similar technology built into panel readers.
The readers, which retail for about $2000 and are used in several Victorian abattoirs, record data by using 5G or Wi-Fi technology.
Mr Fahy said stock sent from interstate, including the Northern Territory and Queensland, often stopped halfway at a transit depot or holding or spelling paddock.
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"We would love to see this technology fitted and used to record the movement of livestock anywhere an animal comes in and out of," he said.
The technology is linked with the NLIS database and has already been rolled out at saleyards at Shepparton, Colac, Echuca and Bendigo.
"For us, we want to make it easier for the industry to capture that data and some of this new technology coming online will help that," Mr Fahy said.
"We also want to raise awareness of how simple and important it is to capture this information.
"To stop any kind of disease issue, you want to be able to quickly know where an animal has been and what other animals they have been in contact with."