On 1 April 2010, there were 72 thousand farms and horticultural enterprises in the Netherlands, a reduction by more than 1 percent relative to the same month last year. This reduction is the smallest in more than 15 years. The most substantial reduction was registered in the province of South Holland, the smallest in the province of Overijssel.
Limited reduction due to economic crisis
The number of agricultural and horticultural enterprises was reduced by just under one thousand in 2010. Such a small reduction has not occurred since 1993. The reduction is modest, especially if the relatively high amount of recent bankruptcies in the agricultural sector is taken into account. Between 1 April last year and 1 April this year, 117 (mainly horticultural) enterprises were declared bankrupt, i.e. more than twice as many as in the preceding year.
The small reduction is also due to the fact that farmers who want to sell their property cannot find potential buyers, as the financial crisis also affects the property market.
No further expansion dairy farms
The number of dairy farms dropped by nearly 500 to under 20 thousand in 2010. The number of dairy cows was reduced by nearly 1 percent to 1,477 thousand, but the average number of cattle per farm grew by 1.7 percent. This is the smallest growth in the last five years. With more than 4 percent, the largest increase in dairy cattle was recorded in the province of Flevoland.
Further increase pigs per farm
The pig stock increased by nearly 70 thousand to 12.3 million from 2009 to 2010 and grew for the sixth year in a row. The increase relative to 2004 is 1.1 million. In 2010, the average pig stock per farm was more than 1.7 thousand, i.e. an increase by over 8 percent from one year previously. Large-scale, intensive pig farming is growing further in 2010. The three provinces with the highest number of pigs per farm are Limburg, North Brabant and Drenthe.
More very large intensive piggeries
The number of farms with 5 thousand pigs or more increased from 113 in 2009 to 133 in 2010. Most large, intensive piggeries are found in North Brabant, where the number increased from 58 in 2009 to 74 in 2010. In the province of Gelderland, 5 new large piggeries were constructed bringing the total to 14.
Renzo Ghianni and Cor Pierik