Developments, strategies and challenges for Netherlands’ dairy sector

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstractAcademic


In 2014 the Netherlands had 18,000 dairy farms with 1.6 million cows, 12.7 billion kg of milk of which 65%
sold abroad, 23 processing companies and 60,000 jobs in the chain. This contributed 1.2% to national economy
and 9% to trade surplus. Grassland prices in period 2013-15 varied between €45.000 till 80.000/ha. Recently,
milk price is around 30 ct/kg, but for ecological milk 52 ct/kg (2% of total volume). In years preceding the
ending of quota system, policy discussions started how to guide the sector in a sustainable way into the
quota free era. A land tied dairy sector was envisioned by politics and the sector itself. This was laid down
in the so called ‘Melkveewet’ (Dairy Husbandry Law). Enlargement of no. of cattle was linked to requiring
additional land. Moreover, the national produced amount of phosphate from animal manure was already set
at 172.9 million kg in agreement with EU commission, of which 84.9 for the dairy cow population. Farmers
anticipating the quota free situation enlarged herds in 2013/2014. In 2015, the number of cows was increased
by 120.000, + 7, 5% (production + 10%). As result, three month after the abolition of quota, the Netherlands
government installed a phosphate quota on farm level, reference July 2015, restricting the sector: 4-8% flat
reduction; 10% take away by transfer; price at moment €5,000/cow. Main focus in developing the sector is on
increasing cow production efficiency, nutrient use efficiency (by introduction of a nutrient cycle planner; farm
specific P-norms are allowed), amazing grazing initiatives, including policy to increase % of cows grazed,
cow welfare (by experimenting with bedded pack barns and the innovative cow garden), improving structure
of soils, decrease in antibiotic use (partly realized) and cow health initiatives, like increasing resilience of
cows. Research in these areas will be presented. Early 2015, a commission was appointed by the government
to make a future draft of a sustainable animal sector, which results will be presented as well.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts of the 67st Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event67st Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science - Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 Aug 20162 Sep 2016


Conference67st Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science
CountryUnited Kingdom

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