IYAK - International Yak Association Ear Tag System


The IYAK registration was started in 1993 as The North American Yak Registry (NAYR). It was designed to follow the year/letter designation published by the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF). This is an internationally recognized system of assigning a letter to each year in alphabetical order. It is widely used among livestock breeds. The sequence is published on the IYAK website.

During the first year of registration (1993) all yaks were given registration numbers and ear tags beginning with the letter C, which was the year-letter for 1993. This grouped yaks whose birthdates were unknown with the calves actually born in 1993. Queen Allante D171 was registered in 1994 and was inadvertently registered as D171 even though her calf Prince Allante C020 who was registered in 1993 was assigned C020. All calves born in 1994 were given registration numbers starting with the letter D, 1995 starting with E, and so on thru the sequence. The first IYAK tag, C001, was given to Sargent Pepper, an adult Royal bull at the time.

The system is designed such that the letters I, O, Q and V are not used as these letters can be confused with numbers on tags when viewed from a distance. The year/letter sequence was written in the original NAYR rules but somewhere along the way NAYR fell out of sync with the BIF. In 2010 U, V, W and X were skipped to bring the NAYR back into sync with the BIF.

The year 2015 presented to NAYR a special situation. We had completed our first cycle thru the letter system and were back to C for the letter year 2015 in the International System. How do we differentiate registration numbers in the first cycle from those in the second cycle?

The IYAK BOD unanimously agreed to the following solution at the May 3, 2015 meeting:

Starting with the second letter cycle in 2015, the registration number designated on the certificate will be 2C001. Subsequent registration numbers will be 2C002 and so on thru 2C999. So, the first calf registered in 2015 will have a certificate number of 2C001 and a tag number of 2C001.

In 2015, the cycle designation was inadvertently not printed on the ear tags (they read C001 etc.) Starting in 2016, the cycle designation was added to the ear tags (they read 2D001 etc.)

In 2018, the Board reaffirmed that the cycle designation would continue to be printed on the ear tags matching the registration numbers on the certificates.

22 years from now we will complete this second cycle and registration numbers will start with 3: 3C001, 3C002 and thru 3C999. This gives us an infinite number of cycles and 999 registrations per year.

When searching the IYAK website for animals in the second and subsequent cycles it will be required to enter the cycle designation or complete registration number, i.e. 2C028, etc. It will be the responsibility of the present and future Registrars to see that the International System is followed for the letter sequence.

As for the tags themselves, the IYAK BOD agreed unanimously on 05/03/2015 that, effective immediately, we will provide Z tags in the “cow” size for all animals accepted for registration. We feel the consistency achieved by this decision will be benefit IYAK members as a whole.

Z Tag application tools can be found at most feed and animal supply stores and online.NAYR Ear Tag Designations by Year