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2017 Sheep and Goat Census Forms in the Post

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will issue the Annual Sheep and/or Goat Census forms for 2017  this week to over 45,000 sheep and goat keepers registered on the Department’s database.

The Department has selected Sunday 31 December 2017 as the census date.  Completion and return of the census is a legal obligation on keepers.

The completed 2017 census forms may be returned either by post via the addressed envelope provided with the census form or online via

The onus remains with the flock/herd keeper to make sure that completed census forms being returned by post are received on time.  The only acceptable proof of postage is a Registered Post receipt in the case of dispute regarding postal returns.   A postal certificate or express post receipt is not acceptable as proof of postage.

The closing date for receipt of completed 2017 census forms is 31 January 2018. Postalreturns must be forwarded to Seefin Data Management, PO Box 17, An Post, Cahirdown, Listowel D.S.U, Co. Kerry no later than that date. However, respondents submitting a census return on-line via may avail of an extended closing date to 11.59 p.m. on 14 February 2018.

To submit a census return on-linekeepers must be registered with  Farmers not already registered can do so by logging on to and clicking the option to register.  Users registering for access to for the first time should allow sufficient time for receipt of their log-on details through the post. These log-on details are required for access to the online census facility and allow access to other relevant online services. First-time users are therefore advised to register well before the extended closing date available to on-line respondents, to ensure a timely return of the census information.

Farmers registered for on-line services in addition to return the census details electronically, can check the census details for previous years and order books of sheep dispatch/movement documents on-line through the Animal Identification and Movement system.    The completed census data can be reviewed to ensure accuracy and may be amended in the event of error. Keepers will receive confirmation when a census submission has been completed successfully. 

It should be noted, however, that the most recently returned on-line figures recorded by 14 February 2018 will be regarded as the final census 2017 return.  

Failure to return the census on time may also impact on future payments from this Department. Submission of a completed census form 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.

Census information is also used during farm/flock inspections where the inspector has details of the census returns submitted for the holding in the last number of years. This information is used as the basis for identifying whether animal records have been adequately maintained.

The census provides valuable statistical information to the Department and other organisations involved in the development of the industry. 


Date Released: 13 December 2017