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DAFM Announces Details of 2018 Sheep and Goat Census

on Tuesday, 11 December 2018. Posted in Blog, Sheep

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 shortly. The return of census details is a legal requirement.

The census date is Monday 31 December and the closing date for receipt of completed 2018 census forms returned by post in the pre-addressed envelope provided is Thursday 31 January 2019.  While the census return can be made by ordinary post, it should be noted that in the event of a dispute, the only acceptable proof of postage is a Registered Post receipt - a postal certificate or express post receipt is not acceptable.

The census returns may also be submitted online via in which case the closing date is extended to Thursday 14 February 2019. 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 on to  and clicking the option to register. As log in details are issued by post, farmers should allow sufficient time in advance of the closing date to receive their log on details. 

Online completion of the 2018 census will remain an option after the extended closing date for online returns (14 February 2019). However, it should be stressed that late submission of 2018 details may have implications for eligibility to certain DAFM 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 such as the Sheep Welfare Scheme, Basic Payment Scheme, Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme, AEOS, GLAS etc.

Failure to return the census on time may impact payments under these schemes and also other future related payments from this Department.

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.

Notes for Editors

Annual Sheep and/or Goat Census 2018

  • Completion and return of the Annual Sheep and/or Goat Census 2018 forms is a legal obligation on the keeper.  Failure to return a completed form on time could impact on eligibility for certain DAFM schemes.
  • The onus is on the flock/herd keeper to make sure that completed census forms being returned by post are received on time. 

Extension of EID to All Sheep

  • Details of the changes relating to the extension of EID to all sheep are set out on the DAFM website under Animal Health & Welfare/ Animal Identification and Movement /Sheep /National Sheep Identification System / Extension of EID to all Sheep.
  • Under the new rules relating to the National Sheep Identification System, with effect from 1 June 2019, all sheep moving from any holding must be identified electronically.
  •  Lambs aged under 12 months of age moving directly to slaughter from the holding of birth may be identified with a single electronic tag in the animal’s right ear.
  • All other sheep must be identified with a full EID set of tags (i.e. an electronic tag bearing the individual number of the sheep in the right ear and a corresponding conventional tag bearing the same number in the left ear).
  • Electronic bolus sets will also be acceptable. Generally, only electronic tags can be purchased for sheep since 1 October 2018.

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