Buying and selling calves

The management and movement of calves are critical for disease management with an estimated 1. 5 million calves reared annually in New Zealand.  To ensure lifetime animal traceability and to support disease management, all newborn animals (calves) must be tagged within 180 days or before their first off-farm movement.

Calves are required to be registered in NAIT within 7 days of being tagged - or before their first off-farm movement.

Failure to comply with your NAIT obligations may result in fines or prosecution issued by the Ministry for Primary Industries


Download our NAIT calving checklist




1. Tag correctly, for a higher retention rate 


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2. Register your calves online. Tell us which tags you have used in your NAIT account. This must be done before sending animals off-farm. 

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 3. Record a sending movement within 48 hours after you have sold calves or moved off-farm for rearing. Except when sending to a saleyard.


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J1237 NAIT Tagging Tips Illustration June2020


  1. Confirm with the seller that the calves have been correctly tagged and are registered in the NAIT online system.
  2. Ask the seller for an Animal Status Declaration form (ASD). This form should be exchanged with the animals at the point of sale.
  3. When the calves arrive, read their NAIT tag numbers visually, or electronically with a scanner. You will need this information to record or confirm a movement in your NAIT account.
  4. Record a receiving movement.


• Use tags in numerical order. This makes it easier to bulk register animals in your NAIT account.

• Use a secondary panel tag. You can match a secondary identifier to the NAIT tag in your NAIT account.

• Scanner hire. Call the OSPRI Contact Centre on 0800 482 463 for more details.


Bobby calves moved direct to slaughter are exempt from all NAIT requirements. Check with your meat processor about their requirements for accepting bobby calves.


NAIT tips for calving brochure

FAQs for beef and dairy farmers

FAQs for calf rearers

Darryl Jensen case study

Nigel Johnston case study

Paul Mercer case study