Scottish Agricultural Census - News, guidance and sample forms

Guidance and updates around the Scottish Agricultural Census.

This document is part of a collection

This year the June agricultural census looks a bit different. You can find downloadable copies of the the new census form here as well as guidance on how to complete it

Guidance on how to complete your Census

You have been sent a form as you are the registered owner or tenant of land that has the potential for agricultural use now or in the future. Although you may not be actively farming the land at present, it is important that we have a full picture of the present activity to help gauge the health of the farming industry as a whole.   

Please complete all sections with information held as of 1 June 2024 unless otherwise directed.

When land is let on a seasonal basis, the census form should be completed by the owner NOT the seasonal tenant. The seasonal tenant should supply you with details of their land-use. However, do not include their livestock, unless you are managing them on contract.

Completing your form online

The quickest and easiest way to complete your census is online using the Rural Payments and Services (RP&S) website.

Log into your account:-

Use the web address below to log into your account and select Ag Census.

If you have more than one business, click on the business name for the Business Reference Number (BRN).

Click on Ag Census near the top of the page. All locations in the business which require an online survey will be listed. Please complete them one at a time.

Register for an account:-

New accounts are verified by Area Office colleagues, therefore it can take up to 30 days for your account to be activated  You can register for RP&S on the web address below.

Once your account is activated, the census form will automatically appear in the Ag Census section of your account.

Contacting us

This page has information to help you complete your agricultural census form. 

If you have an enquiry, please contact your local area officeYour local area office will be able to help you update your contact information, changes in ownership and with issues accessing RP&S.

For support in completing your agricultural census form please email and include your location code. 

Submitting your return

When you have completed all relevant sections of the census, please complete the declaration section and press submit on the online form. If returning a paper form, please use the prepaid envelope provided.

Section Guidance

Most questions in the census form will be the same as those asked annual (on crop areas, livestock and labour). The modular section this year, which changes annually, will be on manure management and agricultural machinary.


Section 1: Area of location  and Section 2: Seasonal rents (page 1)

The pre-printed information on your form is taken from the information we hold, as recorded on 1 May 2024.

If any of the pre-printed information is incorrect, please enter the correct information and contact your local area office.


Section 3:  Land Use (page 2)

If you have completed a SAF form this year you do not need to fill in this section of the form. Please skip to section 4. 

Enter the area, including headlands and ditches, of each crop or collection of crops grown on this location at 1 June 2024. Land being prepared for a crop this year should be returned as under that crop.

Crop areas, for example, under Agri Environment schemes should be included in the relevant category where possible, otherwise enter under ‘other crops’.

Boxes 12 to 17: Glasshouses or walk-in cover

These include greenhouses, polytunnels and any semi-permanent structure crops are grown in.

The crops grown in these structures should be reported in square metres.

You can convert square feet into square metres: multiply your area in square feet by 0.0929.

Boxes 18 and 19: Other crops not listed above (excluding grassland)

If you do not have other crops please leave this section completely blank.

Box 26: Other land

These include land such as roads, yards, buildings (excluding glasshouses), ponds, derelict land.

Box 27: Total land from Section 3

The total land from, for example, all crops, grasses, rough grazing, woodland and other land entered should be shown in box 27, and this figure must agree with the actual area of this location (Section 1, box 3).

Boxes 12 to 17 should be reported in square metres. Please make sure to convert these areas to hectares before adding your areas together in box 27.

To convert Sq Metres to Hectares divide your area in Sq Metres by 10,000.


Section 4 to 7: Livestock (page 3)


  • Livestock belonging to you, your workers or family, that are on this location
  • Livestock belonging to you, temporarily on someone else’s land but which they are not managing on a contract
  • Livestock you are keeping and managing on contract for someone else. If you are holding livestock under a formal “bed and breakfast” contract, please also include them
  • Livestock sent for sale on 1st June 2023

Do not include:-

  • Livestock that are located at other locations recorded under other farm codes
  • Livestock kept on contract for you by another person
  • Livestock temporarily on your farm owned by another person and which you are not managing on contract
  • Cattle figures, as we collect these from ScotEID

All cattle information is now collected directly from ScotEID. Please do not include cattle and buffalo figures.


Section 5: Sheep (page 3)

Do not include:- Your share in any Sheep Stock Club; the Club Secretary will complete a return for these sheep.


Section 6: Poultry (page 3)

Do not include:- Any wild birds and game birds.


Section 7: Miscellaneous livestock (page 4)

Box 8: Hives containing a colony of live honey bees

Include both those owned by you or those that are brought in from elsewhere, but only include hives that are on your land on 1 June 2024.


Section 8: Legal Responsibility (page 4)

The person(s) or institution with the power of the decision-making, regarding the normal daily financial and production routines of the business.


Section 9: Occupier(s) (pages 4 and 5)

Only provide information regarding one person for questions 1 to 5 in Section 9. There is the opportunity to provide information about another occupier in questions 6 to 11.

If you do farm work on more than one location, do not enter yourself or occupier 2 on more than one form.

If there are more than two occupiers who fit the description provided for occupier 1 and occupier 2, please answer for the two occupiers who represent the largest contributions to the legal and financial responsibilities of the farm.

If the farm is run by a partnership or company, enter details of only one of the working partners/directors as the occupier (and occupier 2). Other partners/directors should be entered in Section 10. 

Boxes 4 and 10: Year of birth

Please state your year of birth as ‘YYYY’ for example 1976.

Boxes 5 and 11: Proportion of time spent working on this location

Part-time work is for less than 38 hours each week.


Section 10: Other labour on the location at 1 June 2024 (page 5)

This Section relates to all other persons contracted to work on the location at the 1 June 2024 (including those doing office work).


  • Any staff who were sick or on holiday
  • Any working partners who were not entered in the previous section
  • Any part-time staff who may not have been present due to their work pattern. Persons doing farm work, includes those employed to do drainage, ditching, maintenance, repair work and transport of farm goods.

Do not include:

  • Non-working partners and anyone else who has already been entered in Section 9.
  • Anyone working under Youth Training (unless they were employed and paid for by you), school children, non-farm workers (working on buildings, installing plant or carrying out contract work) and gardeners or estate workers who do no farm work.

Boxes 13 and 14

Casual and seasonal workers are those employed directly by the location to work but doing work of a temporary or seasonal nature. Do not include workers employed by third parties.


Section 11: Non-regular, contract labour and migrant workers (page 5)

Please note that, unlike Section 10, this relates to the last 12 months, not just 1 June 2024.

Person working days is a way of measuring the amount of working time across a holding, taking into account full-time and part-time work.

Number of workers multiplied by number of days, for example:

Equivalent person working days

3 workers for 5 full days                 

15 person working days

10 workers for half a day                     

5 person working days      

Total number of person working days


Box 1: Non-family labour employed on non-regular basis

Enter the total number of working days for non-family labour employed on a non-regular basis over the last year. For example, some of these may be those currently employed and included in Section 10 boxes 13 and 14.

Box 2: Contract labour

This does not include unpaid mutual aid or work done by accounting firms.

A contract farming agreement is not a partnership; it is a joint venture between two parties. The Farmer is engaging the services of the Contractor and this trading position is preserved insofar as tax, VAT, etc. are concerned. Both parties retain their individual identity as farm businesses in their own right.

Boxes 2, 3 and 4: For agricultural contract and migrant workers, please include workers who are employed by a third party, and not any workers who are employed directly by the location.


Section 12 – Manure management

Do not complete this section if you do not have storage facilities for slurry. Please provide information regarding the last 12 months (tick all that apply).


Section 13 - Agricultural machinery

Please do not include unused machinery kept at this location.

Boxes 14 to 34: Machinery ownership status

Boxes 35 to 66: Fuel type used includes

Owned by you: owned outright

Diesel: also include if you add any different Biodiesel Blends (exclude 100% Biodiesel)

On Hired Purchase/Personal Contract Purchase

Bio-fuel: such as 100% Biodiesel, Bioethanol, Biogas and Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO)

Shared with another holding(s): You share your machine with another holding or borrow the machine from another holding

Electric: electric battery-powered agricultural machinery


Other: such as hydrogen

Please return your completed census form either by pre-paid envelope or by email.



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