Farmers can now record the number of sheep and goats on their farm, with the online facility for completing the annual sheep and goat census now open.

The date selected for taking a head count of numbers is Thursday 31 December.

To complete the census online, log on to your agfood account and select the tab ‘animal identification and movement’.

Farms with mixed cattle and sheep enterprises will be then given a cattle-keeper option and a sheep-keeper option.

Select the sheep option and then in the top left section, click on census and create to bring up the 2020 input sheet.

Useful resource

Farmers are encouraged to complete the census through their 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.

The census can also be amended online if required. A new feature of the sheep portal includes the ability to order dispatch documents online.

Breeding information

There are two questions asking if information can be passed to Sheep Ireland and Bord Bia.

This information will be used, in the case of Sheep Ireland, to circulate breeding information including a guide and directory of LambPlus breeders in the post for free to all farmers who tick the box, while, for Bord Bia, it relates to the quality assurance scheme.

The deadline for submitting information online is 15 February 2021, while postal forms must arrive no later than 1 February.

Take note, the only acceptable proof of postage is a registered An Post receipt.

The form must be returned regardless whether you currently have sheep or not and failure to do so will negatively affect payment for a number of important farm schemes.