Introduction of new livestock identification tag codes

Date published: 13 June 2024

New ‘XI’ prefix livestock tags will be available to purchase from tag suppliers and can be used immediately when launched on week commencing 24 June 2024.  From that date ‘UK’ tags will no longer be available for purchase.


Existing stocks of ‘UK’ tags held by livestock keepers can continue to be used alongside the new ‘XI’ prefix tags until the final switchover date expected in January 2025.  Further details on this final switchover date will be provided in due course.

DAERA recommends that ‘XI’ prefixed tags are applied to all newborn animals when available particularly if it is likely that the animal will be exported in the future, otherwise they may have to be re-identified prior to export.

In advance of the rollout of the new XI tags, keepers are advised that they should not order large quantities of ‘UK’ tags that cannot be used from January 2025.

More information on this change, including a set of Q&As is available from the DAERA website: Introduction to Identification, Registration and Movement of Animals.


Notes to editors: 

1. This change to the prefix code on livestock tags, which is a legal requirement under EU Animal Health Law, will ensure continued unfettered access (subject to normal export eligibility requirements) to both EU and UK internal markets for our livestock and agri-food product.

2. The change means that from week commencing 24 June 2024: 

a) All new cattle tags issued in NI will begin with “XI 0”, replacing the current UK 9.  This will allow the whole tag number to be encoded on electronic identification devices in future.

b) All new sheep tags issued in NI will begin with XI 17 replacing the current UK 17.

3. A final switchover date, provisionally expected on 27 January 2025, after which ‘UK’ tags cannot be used, will be confirmed later this year.

4. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office: or telephone: 028 9016 3460.

5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

6. Follow DAERA on X and Facebook

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