Enlarging of scale in dairy farming: Consequences for farm-bound traffic flows in the countryside

C.F. Jaarsma, C.M.L. Hermans, W.A. Rienks, J.R. de Vries

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4 Citations (Scopus)


On average, farm units in the EU countryside are developing within the globalization process to an everincreasing physical and operational size. Within the last three decades, Dutch dairy farm holdings have increased their physical size by a factor of 3. This ongoing process can also be observed in other Western-European countries. For Dutch dairy farming we explored the effects of future enlargement of physical and operational size from a transportation viewpoint. We focused on external farm-bound traffic flows with trucks and on internal flows with agricultural vehicles within the farm holding as far as these vehicles traveled on public minor roads. We modeled 3 situations for future dairy farming in a fictitious area called ‘polder’: 10 “Family Farms” (10 farm units each consisting of 85 ha and 120 dairy cows);and 2 “Cowmunities” (1 central farm building, 1200 dairy cows and 10 parcels of 85 ha each). Both Cowmunities differ in their land layout: 10 scattered parcels (the Cowmunity) versus a concentration of these parcels in one area around a central farm building (the Cowmunity plus). In both Cowmunities, we found a modest reduction of truck travel on minor public roads for external traffic. This reduction was enabled by more efficient freight transport to larger farm holdings. Contrary to this finding are the resultsfor internal traffic with agricultural vehicles on these holdings. Longer distances between field parcels and central farm buildings in the Cowmunities cause a considerable growth of volumes and kilometers traveled by agricultural vehicles on public roads. This heavy traffic will likely conflict with other roadusers in the countryside and further increase existing road safety problems involving agricultural vehicles. Unfortunately, these impacts can only partly be reduced by an optimal land lay-out of the holding witha concentration of field parcels near the central farm building as in Cowmunity plus. To improve this situation, a two-pronged approach needs to be taken that carefully locates central farm buildings and adapts the network of minor rural roads to avoid “clashes” between agricultural and other road users
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-75
JournalNJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • rural road networks
  • land-use
  • agriculture
  • spain

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