POST Online Media Lite Edition


Dutch cattle herd size barely changed in 2022

Christian Fernsby |
In 2022, the size of the Dutch cattle population has remained virtually unchanged from the previous year, standing at 3.8 million head.

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The dairy goat herd grew slightly to almost 489 thousand head. The size of the pig population declined by 1.6 percent to 11.3 million head. The poultry herd decreased as well; this year, by 2.3 percent to 98 million.

This is evident from provisional figures taken from the 2022 Agricultural Census, conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

The cattle herd increased by 13.7 thousand head (0.4 percent) year on year as at 1 April 2022. Altogether 1.57 million dairy cows were registered as of this year, unchanged from last year.

On the other hand, the number of young bovines has risen by 1.6 percent to 982 thousand. The size of the veal calf herd declined by 0.4 percent to just over 1 million head.

Dutch dairiy holdings occupy 45 percent of the total utilised agricultural area (UAA) in the Netherlands. In 2022, the average area occupied by a dairy holding stands at 60 hectares. This is 12 ha larger than the average area ten years previously. The dairy cattle herd size has increased as well.

This year, a dairy holding rears on average 110 dairy cows and 58 head of young female stock. This was 83 and 57 respectively in 2012.

In 2022, a dairy farm has on average 1.84 cows and 0.97 head of young female stock per hectare of UAA. This was 1.72 cows and 1.19 head of young female bovines ten years previously.

Another increase is seen in the dairy goat sector, where the average goat herd per holding has grown from 495 to 735 head over a period of ten years. In 2012, there were 223 holdings with 500 or more head of dairy goats. Ten years later, this had increased by half to 330.

As of 2022 the Dutch dairy goat herd stands at 489 thousand, an increase of more than 1 percent on the previous year. Over half of the dairy goat herd are kept in the provinces of Noord-Brabant (137 thousand) and Gelderland (117 thousand).

As of 2022, the Netherlands has 11.3 million pigs. This is the smallest herd size in almost 20 years’ time. The pig herd exceeded 12 million for years.

This year’s decline has brought the herd size below this number. Relative to ten years previously, the number of holdings with pigs has decreased by 45 percent to 3,273 holdings.

The decline in pigs and pig farms is partly the result of a buy-out scheme for livestock farmers to control ammonia emissions under an action plan as well as the Subsidy Scheme for the Remediation of Pig Farms (SRV).

In 2022, the total poultry herd has decreased by 2.3 percent year on year, to 98 million chickens. The poultry herd has fluctuated around 100 million for years now. The chickens are kept at increasingly few farms. In 2022, there were 1,711 farms with poultry, which represents a 20-percent decline on ten years earlier.

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