Farmers who have yet to return there sheep census form are being reminded to do so before the January 31 deadline.

The deadline, which is just three weeks away, is a must for every sheep farmer in the country.

According to Teagasc, apart from there being a legal onus on sheep farmers to fill in the form, it is also essential to enable you to make a claim under the Grassland Sheep Scheme.

Teagasc also highlights that this year there is also a requirement to identify the number of sheep that belong to mountain and mountain crossbreeds.

The form must be submitted to the Department of Agriculture by Friday January 31, 2015.

Teagasc advises that it is a good idea to keep a copy of the census for your own records, and to register the letter when posting it. Farmers have the option of completing the census online at and selecting the option for ‘Online Services’.

Failure to complete a census return will result in your designator being made dormant which will prevent you from ordering sheep or goat tags, dispatch/movement books or flock/herd registers. It may also lead to penalties under cross compliance and could hamper claims made under certain schemes.

According to the 2013 sheep census returns Ireland had 3.53 million sheep (3,530,802) in 34,304 flocks including 2.46 million breeding ewes over 12 months of age.

If you have any queries regarding the form, there is a lo-call helpline available. Teagasc says for queries regarding completion of the sheep/goat census form, contact 076 – 106 4426.