Sheep census due at the end of the month
The annual sheep census required from all sheep flock owners is due to be completed by the end of this month, according to Teagasc.
There is a legal requirement for each flock owner to submit a completed census form every year.
At this stage, all flock owners will have received their annual sheep census form, which needs to be completed and requires flock owners to count the number of sheep on the farm on December 31 and record this on the form.
The deadline for receipt by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) is January 31 in the case of postal forms.
There is also an option to complete the form online. The deadline for completing the return online is February 14.
The census records returned showed that at the end of December 2017 Ireland had 3.87m sheep in 35,777 flocks, representing a reduction of approximately 1pc, 40,000 sheep, versus the previous year.
According to the 2017 census, the average number of sheep per flock was 108, however a total of 68pc of flocks contain sheep numbers below the average flock size.
Donegal holds the title for the most sheep in any county and is home to 488,143, followed by Galway, which has 430,997 sheep. Limerick has the least amount of sheep in the county with 22,303 sheep recorded in the county on December 31 of last year.
Some ten years ago, Donegal recorded 368,732 sheep in the county, while Galway took the lead with 402,731 sheep, according to the census recorded on December 31, in 2007. It also shows that the national flock has grown from 3.2m sheep in 33,677 flocks, with an average of 97 sheep per flock.