2016-22 - Pregnancy testing requirements for cattle

26 August 2016

Species: Cattle

Country: All

Relevant to:

  1. Livestock Exporters
  2. Australian Government Accredited Veterinarians (AAV)
  3. LiveCorp
  4. Department Officers


To clarify the requirements around pregnancy testing for cattle, including:

  • Meeting  ASEL timeframes s1.9, s1.10 and s6.6
  • the use of IDEXX Bovine Pregnancy Tests
  • the requirements for productive and breeder cattle exported to Indonesia
  • who can undertake pregnancy tests

Calculating ASEL timeframes for standards s1.9, s1.10 and s6.6

The Australian Standard for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) s1.9, s1.10 and s6.6 require that cattle (that are not spayed) must be pregnancy tested during the 30-day period prior to export.

For the purposes of calculating the number of days testing was conducted before export, the day the pregnancy test was performed (or sample taken) is considered to be day zero and the day of loading of the animal is counted as the last day. For example, if a heifer was tested on 1 July, day zero is 1 July and the day of loading must be no later than 31 July to meet ASEL requirements of no more than 30 days.

In exceptional circumstances the department may consider granting an exemption to extend the ASEL timeframe by a short period if a case can be made that it would result in a better animal welfare outcome than retesting the cattle. Exporter will need to apply in writing for this exemption on a case by case basis.

IDEXX Bovine Pregnancy Tests

The IDEXX Bovine Pregnancy Test is an accepted as a suitable method of pregnancy testing for under Standards s1.9(c) s1.10(c),(i)-(ii) s6.6(a)-(b) of ASEL. Samples for the IDEXX test can only be taken by a veterinarian and cannot be taken by a state approved competent pregnancy tester.

Feeder/slaughter cattle: On receipt of a positive pregnancy result from the IDEXX bovine pregnancy test the animal is excluded from being exported in that consignment. It cannot be subsequently tested by a veterinarian or competent pregnancy tester and declared eligible for that consignment.

Breeder cattle: On receipt of a positive pregnancy result from the IDEXX bovine pregnancy test, a veterinarian who meets the qualifications to pregnancy test breeder cattle must also certify in writing that the cattle will not be more than 190 days pregnant (for export by sea), or no more than 250 days pregnancy (for export by air) on the scheduled date of departure. This must be determined by manual palpation or, where the cattle are too small to be manually palpated safely, by another method (in accordance with ASEL).

Indonesian Productive cattle must meet ASEL breeder cattle requirements

Indonesia recognises two different classes of breeding cattle imports; breeder cattle and productive cattle.  For the purposes of ASEL, productive cattle are breeding cattle and must meet relevant requirements for that class.

Who can undertake pregnancy tests required in ASEL?

For feeder/slaughter cattle

  • ASEL standard s1.9 requires that pregnancy tests for feeder/slaughter cattle to be exported by sea can only be completed by a registered veterinarian or competent pregnancy tester.
  • Competent pregnancy testers may only be used in Northern Territory and Western Australia and must be accredited by the relevant agencies. Competent pregnancy testers may only diagnose pregnancy for feeder/slaughter cattle by manual palpation and are not approved to use ultrasound diagnoses or the IDEXX pregnancy test.
  • ASEL standard s6.6A requires that pregnancy tests for feeder/slaughter cattle to be exported by air can only be completed by a registered veterinarian.

For breeder/productive cattle

ASEL standard s1.10 requires that pregnancy tests for breeder/productive cattle can only be completed by:

Accredited testers under the NCPD Scheme have their own unique NCPD registration number and are the only people authorised to use the NCPD Scheme Certification Mark on cattle tail tags.

For consignments where an accredited NCPD tester is required, the exporter must ensure the name of the accredited tester, their accreditation number and a statement of their accreditation is provided on the pregnancy declaration for the consignment.

Competent pregnancy testers (approved in Western Australia and Northern Territory) cannot complete pregnancy testing of breeder or productive cattle consignments for any market. 

Approved by – Trysh Stone, Live Animal Export Branch

Contact officer: Zubair Muhammad
Phone: 02 6272 4581
Email:  Livestock Export

Last reviewed: 11 November 2019
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