The largest reduction in the number of dairy cows during the period 1995–2005 was recorded in the provinces where intensive cattle farming is most commonly found. This is partly due to a stricter legislation regarding manure storage.
Largest reduction in Brabant, Limburg and Gelderland
In the provinces of Friesland, Drenthe and North Holland, the reduction was below the nationwide average. In these provinces, the area of pastureland available for each dairy cow is relatively large. In the provinces of North Brabant, Limburg and Gelderland, where the highest number of factory farms is found, the dairy livestock diminished by approximately a quarter in the period 1995–2005.
Dairy cows on dairy farms
Reduction smaller in large provinces
The Dutch dairy livestock was reduced by one sixth over the period 1995–2005, but the reduction in Friesland was only 6 percent. In Drenthe and North Holland, the dairy livestock diminished by some 13 percent, whereas in the provinces of Zeeland and Groningen, the number of dairy cows increased.
Production and deposit of manure balance out
The milk quota system and the rigid legislation regarding manure storage are the two most important reasons for dairy stock reduction. The amount of manure cattle farmers are allowed to deposit on their land has been reduced and transport is often cost-ineffective. So most cattle farmers seek to balance the amount of manure produced by their herd against the amount they are allowed to deposit. This implies that dairy cows, young cattle or sheep frequently have to be sold or otherwise removed.
Friesland leading dairy province
Friesland has most dairy cows. In 2005, this province counted 259 thousand dairy cows, almost 30 thousand more than the province of Overijssel en almost 40 thousand more than Gelderland. The province of North Brabant counted 208 thousand dairy cattle. These four provinces together account for nearly 65 percent of total dairy livestock in the Netherlands.
Four largest dairy provinces