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Using Cattle Tracing Scheme data and extra information on EC Farm Structure Survey 2013

Future developments: Cattle Tracing System (CTS)

Statistical data on cattle populations are currently collected through the June census and December survey in Scotland.

In order to reduce the burden on survey respondents we plan, in future data collections, to obtain this data through the Cattle Tracing System (CTS), an administrative data source held by the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) which holds records of cattle numbers and movements across Great Britain. DEFRA have been using CTS to obtain cattle figures for England and Wales since 2007.

The table below compares cattle data collected via the 2012 December Survey with data from the CTS and shows that, over the last five years, there has been a difference of between 0.9 per cent and 2.5 per cent between the two sources.

As the December Survey only collects information on main holdings, the figures below incorporate estimates for minor holdings in order to provide a comparison of cattle figures for the whole of Scotland.

Table: Comparison of Cattle Data collected from December Survey form and from the CTS, 2008-2012


December survey

CTS data


Percentage difference


























We will produce a more detailed report on the impact of CTS in our annual compendium publication, the Economic Report on Scottish Agriculture (ERSA), which will be published in June 2013.

The draft survey forms for the 2013 June census of agriculture have been made available:

The sections that farmers will no longer need to complete are highlighted on the forms – this is to demonstrate the impact of removing data that is now sourced from submitted Single Application Forms (SAF) since 2009 and CTS (in 2013).

The European Farm Structure (FSS) for 2013

The European Farm Structure (FSS) for 2013 was issued to a selection of farmers on 8th March and the deadline for completing this is 30th March.

The FSS form is a legal requirement for the Scottish Government (SG) to complete (as part of submitting the Scottish element of a UK return to the EC). The SG can be fined if it does not comply with this EC regulation.

Please note, the FSS has no bearing on a farmer’s Single Farm Payment (SFP) claim or any other compliance or Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) related areas.

We have received some queries from farmers about the survey so in response to this, we have produced a short note covering the main things we have been asked: