Flock/herd keepers across sheep and goat, pig and poultry enterprises have until 30 December 2020 to record their annual inventory of animals present. This year’s recording can only be completed online with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) stating the change to go 100% online was taken in light of COVID-19.
Announcing the change, Minister Edwin Poots said: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not possible to collect and process large volumes of inventory cards. Farmers are still required to submit their annual animal inventory details to the Department, but this year the information will be collected entirely online and a new facility has been developed by the Department for this purpose.”
Minister Poots said farmers are already under significant pressure due to the pandemic and that using the new online system should make the inventory quicker and easier to complete, taking no more than five minutes to fill out.
The inventory can be accessed through the DAERA website at https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/animal-inventory-returns. Animal numbers must be recorded between 1 and 5 December.
Failure to complete and return an inventory is an offence and DAERA highlights it will increase the chances of a flock being selected for a sheep identification inspection
Details must be submitted, including the categories to which sheep belong and the numbers within each flock, along with the occupation of the flock keeper and type of production system practised.
Failure to complete and return an inventory is an offence and DAERA highlights it will increase the chances of a flock being selected for a sheep identification inspection.
Failure to record the information correctly may also trigger a cross-compliance breach and result in a financial penalty being applied to the flock/herd keeper’s direct payment.
DAERA advises that where farmers have any queries or require assistance in completing the form online, they should contact their local DAERA office at 0300 200 7840 or email DAERAsurveys@daera-ni.gov.uk.
31 December date for Irish census
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine annual sheep and goat census will take place on 31 December 2020. The date for the census used to be the middle of December a few years ago, but this has moved to the last day of the year in recent years.
Farmers are encouraged to complete the census through their agfood.ie account
There is a legal obligation to return the census, while its completion is also central to numerous schemes, such as the Sheep Welfare Scheme, Areas of Natural Constraint, Basic Payment Scheme etc.
Farmers are encouraged to complete the census through their agfood.ie account. This also provides the option of viewing previous census returns, which is a useful resource for correlating inventory numbers at year end and cross checking that your flock register is maintained up-to-date.
73% of calf births registered online
The number of calves born in Ireland and registered online continues to creep upwards. The latest Department of Agriculture birth registration data for the period January to October 2020 shows 73% of the 2,216,811 calves registered completed online. This compares to 70% in 2019 and 67% in 2018.
Department rules state calves must be tagged in each ear within 20 days of birth or before they leave the holding, if this occurs before day 20
The Department is encouraging more farmers to progress down this route, citing a streamlined system and early identification of issues such as calves not being registered within 27 days of birth and an incorrect dam or sire being selected.
Department rules state calves must be tagged in each ear within 20 days of birth or before they leave the holding, if this occurs before day 20. Birth registration must take place within seven days of tagging and at the latest before calves reach 27 days of age.