In 2015 and in 2016, phosphate production in dairy cattle manure exceeded the production ceiling set by the European Union. The introduction of tradable phosphate rights as of 1 January 2018 and the phosphate reduction plan which was implemented in 2017 have led to a sharp decline in the Dutch dairy herd. Between 1 January and 31 December 2018, the dairy herd declined by 60 head (4 percent). The population of calves, weanlings and heifers declined by over 150 thousand head (14 percent). Livestock reductions not only lead to lower manure levels, but also to lower emission levels of the greenhouse gas methane.
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