Farmers ordering tags at present should take note of a new tag threshold introduced on 22 July 2020.

The threshold, introduced to comply with EU legislation, places an upper limit on the number of tags that can be ordered.

Tag suppliers report that the threshold is causing some complications for select farmers who try to bulk-buy larger numbers of new tags than is typically required for a calendar year or where higher numbers are being ordered to take account of significant expansion.

The threshold is based on the average number of calves born in the previous three years, plus an allowance to take account of a possible small increase in numbers.

The tag threshold can be easily accessed through the Department of Agriculture agfood facility.

Threshold enquiry

Once you are logged on to your agfood account, select ‘Animal Identification and Movements’.

On the top of the webpage, there is a list of options, including a heading ‘Tagging’. When you click on this heading, it will bring you through to the interface demonstrated in Figure 1.

This sets out the maximum number of tags you can order in your herd. It also sets out the balance of tags that can be ordered in a year where there is a split between ordering dates.

Herd keepers who increased the number of breeding females in their herd and require their threshold to be increased can contact the Department of Agriculture animal identification and movement section on 01-505 8880 or email

It is also worth bearing in mind possible future changes when ordering tags and avoid a position of having a big surplus of tags on hand in case electronic identification becomes mandatory in the years ahead or if predicted tissue tag testing under the bovine viral diarrhoea eradication programme concludes at the end of 2022.