All livestock holdings (the land and buildings used to keep livestock) must have a county parish holding (CPH) number. This is so that the government can trace livestock to prevent and control disease.

This page tells you how to get a CPH number in England. Find out how to get a CPH number:

The processes are different in Northern Ireland. Read the guidance for animal identification, registration and movements.

Livestock (kept as part of a business or as pets) include:

  • cattle, bison and buffalo (bovine animals)
  • pigs
  • goats
  • sheep
  • deer
  • poultry (if you have 50 or more birds)

You do not need a CPH number if you’re only making a claim for rural payments.

You need a different type of CPH number (called a 8000 series) if, for example, you plan to:

Call the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) if you’re unsure what type of CPH number you need.

Before you start

You’ll need the National Grid field numbers for:

  • your main livestock gathering area
  • any other land you keep livestock on (if you do not claim rural payments)

How to find National Grid field numbers for your land

Use the multi-agency geographic information for the countryside (MAGIC) map. Follow these instructions:

  1. Select ‘Get Started’.
  2. Using the search facility at the top left of the page, search for a county, place or postcode.
  3. Using the map, locate the main livestock gathering area for your livestock. Use the +/-icons to zoom in and out.
  4. Select on the ‘Where am I’ function on the toolbar and then click on the relevant field.
  5. A pop-up box will appear showing the land details for this location. This includes the National Grid field number.

Other information you’ll need

You’ll need to say if you own or rent the land. If you rent the land, you’ll need to confirm if:

  • you’ll rent it for more than one year
  • the landowner already has a CPH number

You’ll also need your:

  • contact details
  • business name and what activities you do or what livestock you keep
  • single business identifier (SBI) number – if you’ve got one

Apply for a CPH number

You must get a CPH number before you move livestock onto land or into buildings.

If you need it urgently, tell RPA when you apply.

If you’re registered on the Rural Payments service

Call RPA to apply for a CPH number.

If you are not registered on the Rural Payments service

You can either:

RPA will register you on the Rural Payments service and send you an email with a validation link. You must click on this link within 12 hours to confirm your email address.

You will then get your CPH number by email.

When you get your CPH number

You should get your CPH number by email within 10 working days. It may take longer during busy periods, or if information is incomplete.

Depending on your circumstances, you’ll either get a:

  • permanent CPH number
  • 7000 series (landless keeper) CPH number

If you have a 7000 series (landless keeper) CPH number

You must either get a temporary land association (TLA) or a temporary county parish holding number (tCPH).

This is because this type of CPH is for your home address. A TLA or tCPH links the land where you’ll be keeping livestock with your CPH.

What to do next

Before you move livestock onto your holding, you need to give the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) your CPH number. You can call or email APHA.

If you’re going to keep poultry (50 or more birds), you must complete the compulsory poultry registration form (IRA81) and send it to APHA.

APHA will:

  • register you as a livestock keeper
  • send you a flock or herd mark

You must use the flock or herd mark to identify animals born on your holding. You can also choose to use it for sheep or goats born elsewhere which have lost their original tags.

If you’re going to keep cattle, bison or buffalo

You must also register your CPH number with the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS).

Update your CPH details

You must let RPA know if there are any changes to your CPH details as soon as possible (and within 30 days). Call the Defra rural services helpline.

If you cannot use the telephone because you have accessibility needs, you can email RPA instead at ruralpayments@defra.gov.uk. Use ‘CPH number update’ as the subject in your email.

Changes include:

  • taking on new land or buildings permanently – you’ll either need to add them to your CPH or get a new CPH
  • giving up land or buildings
  • a change of address
  • if you want to close your CPH number
  • a change to the species of livestock you keep

You must also contact APHA if you change the species of livestock you keep. You can also contact them through the Defra rural services helpline, or you can email.

Divide a cattle business into smaller holdings

A cattle business is usually one holding with one CPH number.

For disease control purposes, you can divide a holding into smaller holdings to separate your herds. Your cattle business must be officially tuberculosis-free to do this.

Each smaller holding will need its own CPH number. Read the conditions and apply for extra CPH numbers.

Using extra land or buildings temporarily

If you plan to use extra land or buildings for less than one year and your livestock will not mix with someone else’s livestock, you will need either a:

You need to get a CPH number before you can get a TLA or tCPH number.

Livestock movement rules

If you move livestock onto a different CPH, you must record and report the movement off.

Find out more about recording and reporting:

If your livestock will not mix with someone else’s livestock

You do not need to record and report movements onto land and buildings within 10 miles of your main livestock gathering area if you:

  • contact RPA to add the land or buildings to your CPH (if you’ll use them for more than a year)
  • get a TLA (if you’ll use them for less than a year)

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