VICTORIA's livestock industry remains split over the introduction of electronic tags for sheep and lambs.
A panel of experts could not reach consensus at the Livestock Saleyards Association of Victoria conference today.
This is despite Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh saying Victoria would adopt electornic tagging and much of the industry accepting its introduction is inevitable.
Australian Livestock and Property Agents chief executive Andy Madigan said it was best to trial the system in one state, but adoption had to be at the same time and through all states.
"Victoria needs to be careful if it introduces electronic tagging first because saleyards could lose a lot of income," he said.
"It has to be workable, affordable and national."
Mr Madigan said saleyards were pushing ahead with "something the industry didn't want".
"The customer, that is the agents and the producers, don't want the electronic tags and if the customer doesn't want it, you have the potential of killing your customer base."
Victorian Farmers Federation livestock group president Ian Feldtmann said everyone needed to work together over the issue of traceability of sheep and lambs.
"There is no point waving a big stick or all you will get is road blocks," he said.
"What we do need to do is make it a national system."
But supporters pushed the need for adoption of electronic tagging immediately.
LSAV deputy president and panel member Gerald Leach, who runs the Ouyen saleyards, said national adoption of electronic tagging would be best.
"But it seems like Victoria needs to lead the way as it did with cattle NLIS," he said.
Department of Primary Industries animal biosecurity manager Dr Tony Britt said to do nothing "was not an option".
"We need an effective system for disease control purposes at the very least," he said.
"We don't have one at the moment."
Dr Britt said the sheep industry needed to take responsibility for itself, rather than rely on the old paper-based system audit by governments.
"There is still a role for governments but that will be to deal with the villians," he said.