Texel gimmers, flock standing in pasture© FLPA / John Eveson/REX Shutterstock

Farmers are being reminded that failure to complete and return the annual 1 December sheep and goat inventory could leave them open to a cross-compliance inspection.

Producers are legally required to record an inventory of the sheep and goats on their holding at a set point each year.

Bryan Griffiths, south west regional chairman for the National Sheep Association, stressed that it was important that farmers remembered to fill out the form and return it on time.

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“It could save you a lot of hassle as, if you do, you are less likely to get a cross-compliance inspection,” he said.

In England, the number of sheep and goats on farm on 1 December must be recorded and the form must be returned to Defra by 31 December.

Farmers are asked to record the number of breeding ewes, plus any lambs put to the ram. All other animals are recorded under “other”, said Mr Griffiths.

In Scotland, the date of the count is also 1 December, although the form or online return will need to be returned by 15 December.

Forms will be sent out to farmers in Wales next week, although they will not have to record the number of sheep and goats on farm until 1 January 2016. Their forms must be returned by 1 February 2016.

In Northern Ireland, inventory cards must be completed between 1 and 5 December and returned to Dard by 5 January 2016.