Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has issued a reminder to farmers to complete their 2023 Agricultural Census.

The department said that each person should remember and enter the unique code they were assigned and mailed when completing the survey.

The survey completion deadline is June 30, 2023. DAERA urged all farmers to submit their Agricultural Census as soon as possible.

“We use the data from the agricultural farm census to guide policy decisions in the year ahead,” the department said.

Northern Ireland’s Agricultural Census is conducted in June of each year. Data is collected on crop areas, livestock numbers and farm labour.

Results are presented at regional and sub-regional level.

2022 Agricultural Census

The results of DAERA’s 2022 census were published at the end of February this year.

According to the census, in 2022 there were 26,089 farms in Northern Ireland, with approximately one million hectares of land farmed. In June 2021, there were 26,077 farms in Northern Ireland.

Of these farms, over three quarters (20,506 farms) are “very small”. Identical to 2020 and 2021, 79% of farms have some cattle, 38% have some sheep, and 3% have some poultry.

As of the survey date (June 1, 2022) there were 51,760 farm workers in Northern Ireland, a decrease of 1% from 2021, with 78% of these being farmers, directors, partners or spouses.

The results showed that total poultry numbers on Northern Ireland farms had decreased 16% year-on-year.

On the census survey date in 2022, there were 20.6 million birds recorded in Northern Ireland.

When compared to the census information recorded on June 2021, the total number of laying birds saw a small increase (6%), however broiler numbers decreased by 25% and other poultry by 73%.

DAERA has attributed this decrease to a “combination of economic and animal health factors”.