While the average dairy farm in the Netherlands has 55 milk cows, the hundred largest dairy farmers have 270. These farms are thus nearly five times the size of the average Dutch dairy farm.
In the last few years, the hundred largest dairy farms have expanded more slowly than the sector as a whole. In 2000 dairy farms had an average 9% more land than in 1998, while the largest farms obtained 7% more land.
The number of milk cows per farm also increased in this period. This growth has slowed down for all dairy farms. The largest farms now have 1.8 milk cows per hectare, slightly more than the average 1.6 cows per hectare.
Size of dairy farms, 2000 compared with 1998
The trend of more extensive dairy farming (fewer cows per hectare of land) seems to be continuing unabated. Expansion seems to be taking place by increasing land areas rather than milk quotas. Large dairy farms are growing more slowly than average for the whole sector.