Sheep are frequently agisted in vineyards during dormancy to help maintain the vineyard floor, reducing vehicle movements on wet soils that can add to soil compaction.

Many grapegrowers are not livestock managers, nor familiar with animal husbandry, so we encourage all grapegrowers to refresh their understanding on managing sheep by referring to Vinehealth Australia’s recently updated Sheep in Vineyards fact sheet.

Some new information about sheep agistment in South Australia includes:

  • Sheep have a minimal impact on exporting soil nutrients from the vineyard. The benefit of increases in soil carbon and nutrient cycling from sheep will outweigh the very small decreases in some elements removed from grazing.
  • Like winegrapes leaving a vineyard and requiring traceback to the origin, the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) for sheep and goats applies, and records the identification and traceability of sheep, lambs and goats across the state.
  • If you keep sheep or other livestock on your property, you must register the property and obtain a Property Identification Code (PIC) from PIRSA. This Code records the people responsible for the livestock, blocks of land on which the livestock are kept, species of livestock, number of each species. The PIC enables PIRSA to contact you as a livestock owner in the event of a livestock disease outbreak, bushfires, floods, or animal emergencies.
  • Any livestock movement requires the completion of a range of documentation which you need to be familiar with ─ a ‘National Vendor Declaration’ or ‘Movement Waybill’, and a ‘National Sheep Health Declaration).

Coming into force on 1 January 2025 as mandatory

  • Sheep and farmed goats born on or after 1 January 2025 must be identified with an NLIS-accredited electronic identification (eID) tag before leaving their property of birth (as an agistee, check with your agistor about the pregnancy status of the livestock prior to reaching your property).
  • Sheep and goat movements will need to be recorded on the NLIS database.
  • For producers who conduct property to property movements, be ready to scan eID tags.