Time is running out to complete sheep census forms

Time is running out fast for farmers to complete their sheep and goat census forms for 2019.

The forms can be completed either by post or online. The closing date for the paper-based forms is this Friday, January 31, 2020.

The deadline for the online submission of 2019 sheep and goat census data is February 14, 2020.

It is important that all flock owners return their forms on time as failure to do so can have consequences for other schemes such as Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) and the Sheep Welfare Scheme.

Online submission of census returns can be done via: www.agfood.ie, according to the department. The online system provides confirmation when a census submission has been completed successfully.

Farmers who are not registered for online services can do so by logging on to: www.agfood.ie and clicking the option to register.

As log-in details are issued by post, farmers using the system for the first time should register immediately to allow sufficient time for their log-on details to reach them in time.

The completion and return of the annual forms is a legal obligation on the keeper, and the onus is on the flock/herd keeper to make sure that completed census forms being returned by post are received on time.

2018 sheep census

Ireland’s breeding ewe flock decreased by 3% in 2018 on 2017 levels, the latest sheep census figures from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine show.

Census returns show that in 2018 the number of breeding ewes in the country stood at 2.56 million compared to 2017, when there were 2.64 million breeding ewes.

There was an average of 106 sheep per flock in 2018, the census returns show.

Ram numbers also decreased, compared to 2017 levels. The figures show that ram numbers were down 2.1% on 2017, with 2,681 fewer rams present on farms in 2018.

In total, as of December 2018, Ireland had 3.73 million sheep (3,732,955) spread across 35,186 flocks, including 2.56 million breeding ewes over 12 months-of-age.