Scottish Agricultural Census - News, guidance and sample forms

Guidance and updates around the Scottish Agricultural Census.

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 at 1st June 2023 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

Within this booklet is guidance that will help you complete the census online or by paper. 

If you require any further help to complete the form or further information, please email the Agricultural Census Operations team You can also call 0300 244 9788 and someone will get back to you. For either contact method please provide 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

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 1st May 2023. If any of the pre-printed information is incorrect, please enter the correct information and contact your local ARE-RPID office.

ARE- RPID area office contact list:


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 1st June 2023. Land being prepared for a crop this year should be returned as under that crop.

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

Boxes 11 to 16: 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 by multiply your area in square feet by 0.0929

Box 26: Total land from Section 3

The total of all crops, grasses, rough grazing, woodland, other land etc. entered should be shown in box 26, and this figure must agree with the actual area of this location (Section 1, box 3).

If you are filling your form in online, the area of glasshouses or walk-in covers will be converted for you. If you are completing your form on paper please make sure to covert these areas to hectares before adding your areas together.

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


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 census day 1st June 2023.


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 question 1 to 7 in Section 9. There is the opportunity to provide information about another occupier in questions 8 to 15.

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 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) and other partners/directors in Section 10. 

Boxes 3  and 11: Year of birth

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

Boxes 4 to 7 and 12 to 15: 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 1st June 2023 (page 5)

This Section relates to all other persons contracted to work on the location at the 1st June 2023 (including those doing office work).

Include:- 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:- 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. Non-working partners and anyone else who has already been entered in Section 9.

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 census day.

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 – Agricultural Production Methods (pages 6 and 7)

Section 12 should be filled in if you have arable land. This includes land that can be ploughed for the purpose of growing crops (including fallow land).

Box 4: Arable crop in a mix with a legume e.g. cereal with beans, peas or clover as an


In intercropping, multiple crops are grown on the same plot, in proximity and often in alternating stripes.

Box 15: Irrigation

Do not include land that has facilities to irrigate if you own but rent out on a full tenancy as your tenant will provide this information on their form.

Box 16 and 17: In the last five years, have you carried out soil pH testing

The results of a soil pH test describes the acidity of the soil. For best growth, plants need optimal soil pH which can be adjusted, if needed, by liming.

Box 27: Do you use protected urea e.g. products like BASF’s Limus® or YaraVera® AMIPLUS®?

Protected urea, also called stabilised urea, contain urease inhibitors which reduce the loss of the urea.

Box 28: Do you use precision farming technology to vary the nitrogen application rate within any of your fields?

With precision farming technologies the application of inputs can be varied within individual fields to match best the needs of the plants. This technology needs digital information about the soil and the plants. After this it sets the application rate automatically when spreading. With variable rate nitrogen spreading the nitrogen fertilisers (synthetic and/or organic) are adjusted.       

Section 13 - Manure, slurry and mineral fertiliser application (pages 7 and 8)

Box 8 and 9: Slurry/liquid manure use and import/export

1 cubic metre is the equivalent of 1000 litres.



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