Brand and identify livestock

After a brand has been registered

Once you have registered your brand or earmark, you will receive the relevant registration certificate:

  • certificate of registration of three-letter brand
  • certificate of registration of distinctive brand
  • certificate of registration of earmark
  • certificate of transfer of brand.

The certificates are legal documents and should be kept in a safe place. As the brand owner you must abide by the certificate provisions and keep them up to date.

If you want to make any changes to your brands or earmarks, you must return the original certificates to the registrar along with the relevant application forms.


If you lose a certificate, you can request a replacement. Fill in the request for a replacement certificate PDF (346.5 KB).

Pay the fee and submit the form to the principal livestock registrar at livestock biosecurity.

The new certificate replaces all other certificates, even if the original is found later.

When you receive the certificate of registration, you must send an impression of the brand to the registrar within 60 days. It should be on linen, canvas, cardboard, leather or other acceptable material.

The branding iron must produce a brand that matches the design or description on your registration certificate. You are breaking the law and can be fined if it does not.

The first brand on an animal must be in the position described in the brand's certificate of registration.

Any later brand can be in any of the following positions where there is room:

  • off neck
  • off shoulder
  • off rump, hip or thigh
  • off ribs
  • near neck
  • near shoulder
  • near rump, hip or thigh
  • near ribs.

You must not apply a registered brand anywhere else on the animal.

For more information, get the branding positions for cattle and horses fact sheet PDF (464.3 KB).

You can apply for permission to brand livestock off the brand's registered property for a short period, for example, for calves on agistment or newly-bought stock.

How to apply

To apply for permission to use a branding iron off the brand's registered property, follow these steps:

Step 1. Discuss your proposed branding needs with a regional livestock biosecurity officer at Animal Biosecurity

Step 2. Fill in the request for special permission form for your area:

Darwin special permission form PDF (21.6 KB)
Katherine special permission form PDF (18.3 KB)
Tennant Creek special permission form PDF (18.7 KB)
Alice Springs special permission form PDF (18.4 KB).

To submit the form, fax it to the officer nominated on it.

Step 3. Get the property owner to fill in the owner's permission to use run (temporary) form PDF (53.7 KB).

Fax it to the registrar on 08 8962 4480 with the request for special permission form.

If your request is approved, the registrar will fax or email authorisation back to the owner of the brand, the owner of the temporary run and the regional livestock biosecurity officer.

Apply to use a brand in an Aboriginal Land Trust area

If you want to apply to use a brand in an Aboriginal Land Trust area, you will need to submit additional documentation.

Find out how to register a brand for use on Aboriginal land.

You can also read about mustering and grazing licences in an Aboriginal Land Trust area.

Mustering or grazing on Aboriginal Land Trust fact sheet PDF (397.5 KB)
Mustering or grazing on Aboriginal Land Trust fact sheet DOCX (56.1 KB)

You must notify the registrar if any of the following things happen:

  • the brand owner moves or the property is sold
  • the branding position changes
  • the brand is no longer used
  • the brand owner's name changes by marriage
  • the brand owner dies
  • the brand is to be transferred to a new owner
  • the owner's contact address changes.

Read the Agnote livestock identification: brands in the Northern Territory PDF (90.3 KB).

Freeze branding is an alternative to common methods of identification branding for livestock.

For more information, read the Agnote freeze branding PDF (85.7 KB).

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Last updated: 24 July 2019

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