In recent years Friesland has become the province with the most dairy cows. For decades the number of milking cows was equally high in the provinces of Friesland, Overijssel, Gelderland and North Brabant.
Four provinces with the most cows
In the period 1984-1997 the number of dairy cows decreased in all provinces as a direct consequence of the introduction of milk quotas in 1983.
Since 1997 the differences between the provinces in the developments of dairy livestock numbers have increased. The number of milking cows, for example, has increased in Friesland, and decreased substantially in Brabant and Gelderland.
Large cattle units per ha on dairy cattle farms
Gelderland drops to third place
The number of dairy cows in Gelderland and Brabant fell more quickly than the national average (-6 percent) in the period 1997-2002, by 12 and 17 percent respectively. This has led to the complete disappearance of some dairy livestock on often small scale livestock farms in Gelderland and the somewhat more intensive farms in Brabant. Indeed since 1998 Gelderland is no longer the province with the most dairy cattle.
Average number of milking cows on dairy farms
More extensive, larger scale
An average specialised dairy cattle farm in the Netherlands has become larger and more extensive in the last ten years. The average number of milking cows has grown most quickly in provinces with small numbers of cattle. Relatively many of these farms are in the provinces of Zeeland, Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe.