A meat processing company says New Zealand farmers could lose out to Australia if an electronic traceability system for livestock is not introduced.
An electronic traceability scheme will become compulsory for cattle and deer in this country by 2011. However, Australia has already made it a requirement for all sheep to be tagged before they leave their farm of birth from 1 January 2009.
Federated Farmers is arguing that the move will be costly and not worthwhile.
The chief executive of Silver Fern Farms, Keith Cooper, says Australia's export numbers are smaller than ours, but it now has a significant competitive advantage.