Department of Agriculture announces sheep and goat census

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has announced that over 45,000 registered sheep and goat keepers will receive their Annual Sheep and/or Goat Census 2018 forms in the coming days.

The census date will be Monday, December 31, and the closing date for receipt of completed census forms by post is Thursday, January 31, 2019.

The census returns may also be submitted online via, in which case the closing date is extended to Thursday, February 14, 2019.

A statement from the department explained that while the census return can be made by post, it should be noted that in the event of a dispute, the only acceptable proof of postage is a Registered Post receipt.

The return of census details is a legal requirement.

The online system provides confirmation when a census submission has been completed successfully.

Farmers not already registered for online services can do so by logging onto and clicking the option to register.

As new log-in details are issued by post, farmers should allow sufficient time in advance of the closing date to receive their log-in details.

The statement stressed that late submission of 2018 details may have implications for eligibility to certain schemes.

Submission of a completed census is central in declaring that required stocking rates are being maintained and facilitates the drawing down of payments under schemes.

Failure to return the census on time may have an impact on future-related scheme payments.

An information leaflet on the new rules relating to the National Sheep Identification System (NSIS), announced by the minister in May this year, will be included in the envelope with the Annual Sheep Census 2018 forms.