Protocols for tagging of stud merino sheep for shows & multi vendor sales

The following document provides a consistent standard for tagging to comply with shearing inspections nationally. This document has been prepared and modified by the AASMB (on advice from states) for use by all states.


All state Merino Associations are asked to appoint a tagging committee to coordinate and carry out inspections (and undertake fleece sampling) as required. It is crucial to the process that each state has an effective working tagging/testing committee structure.


  • Two inspectors are required to be present at all shearing inspections and mid side sampling, one of whom shall be a nominee of the relevant state stud Merino breeders Associations.
  • The nominee will carry the shearing inspection report forms and declaration of Australian Merino breeding for completion and signing.
  • Stud masters/Owners are NOT permitted to tag or sample fleece from their own sheep.


Ear tags are ordered from the various state Stud breeders’ office to allow inspection of nominated sheep to be carried out on either of the two key dates for applying tags. At this date a maximum of 12.5mm of wool is allowed.

  • 15th day of August or as close to that date as possible all inspections to be completed within month
  • 1st day of March or as close to that date as possible all inspections to be completed within month
  • If sheep are inspected after the 15th day August/1st March, the Inspection Committee shall allow a growth at the rate of 1mm for every three days.
  • Sheep tagged after a four-week period from the initial shearing date shall carry no more than 22.5mm staple length (allowing 1mm for every 3 days growth.)
    • An exemption for the Perth Royal from the national standard length of a maximum of 22.5mm was granted by AASMB Council on 4/4/2012. Tagging is to be conducted after 25th September under the supervision of two committee members. [WA note:This allows sheep to be shorn under supervision of two committee members and tagged in early October with a max length of 28.5mm]
  • To assist tagging inspectors in speeding up the tagging procedure, studs are requested to have removed old shearing tags prior to tagging and are asked to ensure that sheep can be easily identified prior to tagging with a property tag (stud tags or horn brand).

Revised/Updated 2014

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