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National cattle herd declining slightly in the Netherlands

Christian Fernsby |
On 1 April 2019, the total cattle population in the Netherlands stood at almost 3.8 million head, 121 thousand (3 percent) less than one year previously.

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Once again, the average cattle herd per farm did not show any further increase.

This is evident from provisional figures in the Agricultural Census 2019, conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

On 1 April 2019, there were altogether 1.6 million head of dairy cattle on Dutch farms.

This is over 33 thousand (2 percent) down on one year previously.

Dairy farmers mainly kept fewer calves and yearlings to substitute mature cows, resulting in another decline in the herd size of young animals: over 100 thousand, a decline of nearly 10 percent.

The number of veal calves increased by nearly 2 percent and exceeded the 1 million-threshold for the first time.

Other beef cattle declined by slightly under 2 percent to 244 thousand head.

The upscaling trend in the bovine sector appears to be stabilising.

In 2019, the average herd size at cattle farms declined slightly for the third year in a row.

Whereas the average farm still had 160 head in 2016, this year the average is 153.

Over the past four years, farms have had between 94 and 97 head of dairy cattle on average.

The number of calves and yearlings has declined for the third consecutive year, from 65 in 2016 to 51 per farm on average in 2019.

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