Agriculture

Agriculture

Slight decline in arable crop area

In 2020, the agricultural area devoted to arable crops in the Netherlands fell by 0.3 percent relative to the previous year.

Horticultural exports down in April 2020

In April 2020, horticultural exports were 11 percent lower than in April 2019.

Nearly 30 thousand contract workers in agriculture

In 2019, the volume of labour deployed in the Dutch agricultural sector was equivalent to over 156 thousand full-time jobs (FTEs).

Household and farm water usage surged in 2018

In 2018, drinking water consumption by Dutch households increased by 7 percent relative to one year previously. The agricultural sector used considerably more water than in 2017 (150 percent).

Less nitrogen, phosphate in manure due to fewer cattle

In 2019, nitrogen excretion in animal manure decreased by 2.6 percent on the previous year, to 490 million kg. This is below the nitrogen oxides emission ceiling that has been imposed on Dutch livestock farmers by the European Union.

Record cereal yields per hectare

Dutch arable farmers achieved a record harvest of the cereal varieties wheat and barley.

Agricultural exports hit record level

Agricultural exports amounted to an estimated 94.5 billion euros in 2019. This is 4.6 percent more than in 2018 and the highest level on record.

More shrimp on Dutch menus in December

The popularity of the common shrimp (C. crangon) during the holiday season is clearly visible in the turnover development of Dutch supermarkets.

Again more cattle grazing

The share of grazing cattle increased again last year, with 71 percent of the dairy herd grazing outdoors against 65 percent in 2016.

National cattle herd declining slightly

On 1 April 2019, the national bovine herd of the Netherlands stood at nearly 3.8 million.

Sugar beet harvest in Europe down

In 2018, sugar beet yields were lower in nearly all countries of the EU-28 than one year previously. In the Netherlands, the yield per hectare was down by 18 percent.

Growth in organic livestock farming

The size of the organic farming sector increased again in 2018.

Increased cultivation of protein crops

The agricultural area utilised for the cultivation of protein crops in the Netherlands stood at 9 thousand hectares in 2018,, an increase of 38 percent relative to 2008 (5.6 hectares).

Brussels sprouts exports hit record high

Brussels sprouts exports have risen most significantly among the winter vegetables.

Agricultural export value over 90 bn euros in 2018

Agricultural exports in 2018 were worth an estimated 90.3 billion euros, i.e. 0.2 percent up on 2017. While exports rose, prices dropped relative to 2017.

Lower farm income due to less dairy cattle, dry summer

Agricultural income per annual work unit has declined in 2018; by nearly 11 percent relative to 2017.

Pumpkin production: fewer patches, more exports

In 2018, one-quarter of the 754 ha of pumpkin cultivation area is in Flevoland province. The total pumpkin cultvation area has declined in most provinces. Pumpkin trade was slightly higher year-on-year in the first 5 months of 2018.

More fresh sea fish landed in Dutch ports

In 2017, the amount of fish brought into Dutch fishery ports from sea increased by nearly 25 percent compared to the previous year. The total volume was approximately 491 million kilos.

Slight rise in Dutch wine production

In 2017 there were 92 vineyards in the Netherlands, 4 more than in the previous year. Grape acreage increased slightly to 157 ha. Limburg and Gelderland are the largest wine growing provinces.

Again fewer cows and more goats

On 1 April 2018, there were nearly 4 million head of cattle in the Netherlands, a decline of over 178 thousand (4 percent) on one year previously.

More sustainable cocoa processed

An increasingly large proportion of cocoa purchased by Dutch cocoa processing companies is certified sustainable according to the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.

Upscaling of greenhouse vegetable production

The number of greenhouse vegetable growers decreased by 85 percent between 1980 and 2017.

Flower bulb cultivation continues to flourish

The area of farmland destined for bulb cultivation in the Netherlands continues to grow.

Stable share of female farmers

The share of women in agriculture fluctuates around one-third of the total number of persons employed in that sector.

Increase in sugar beet cultivation

The cultivation area for sugar beets in the Netherlands grew by 21 percent in just one year.

Turnover in dairy farming sector up

Dairy sector turnover has risen by 30 percent on average over the past three quarters

Fewer growers produce more strawberries

The number of strawberry growers was reduced by nearly half between 2006 and 2017.

Improved nutrient efficiency in agriculture

Dutch agriculture has improved conversion of nutrients from feed and fertilisers into animal and plant products.

Fewer bulb growers cultivating more land

The number of flower bulb farms has decreased by 40 percent since 2000.

Netherlands fifth-largest asparagus producer in Europe

Asparagus production grew again in 2016, especiallyl in southwest Noord-Brabant and north Limburg.

Agricultural production in the period 1950-2015

Over the period 1950-2015, the production value of Dutch agriculture increased more than tenfold.

The Netherlands earns billions in agro-sector exports

Agro-sector exports were valued at over 45 billion euros in 2014, earning almost 29 bn euros in revenues.

Export value agricultural products hits new record

In 2015 the value of agricultural exports amounted to 81.3 bn euros, the highest value ever.

Agriculture accounts for over half of trade surplus

The agricultural surplus ion the trade balance 26.1 bn euros versus 47.5 bn euros for all goods.

Substantial increase flower bulb growing since 1980

The flower bulb cultivation area has increased by nearly 75 percent over the past 35 years. Most flower bulbs are still grown in the province of North Holland, but cultivation is spreading across the entire country. Cultivation areas in the provinces of Drenthe, Flevoland and Overijssel have expanded considerably. The most commonly cultivated flower bulb is the tulip. According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), tulips are grown on almost half of all flower bulb fields.

Agricultural exports under pressure

In the first four months of 2015, the value of agricultural exports was 2.7 percent down from the same period last year. The value of exports of dairy, cattle and meat fell substantially. Exports of agricultural exports to Russia slumped by nearly 40 percent.

Sugar beet cultivation reduced, more seed potatoes grown

The cultivation of sugar beets, ware potatoes, starch potatoes, summer wheat and grain maize is reduced in 2015. The cultivation areas for seed potatoes, seed onions, winter wheat and barley have increased.

Bumper strawberry crop in 2014

Last year, 54 million kg of strawberries were harvested last year, a new record and an increase by 3 million kg relative to 2013. Most strawberries are grown in greenhouses and polytunnels. Nearly 60 percent is intended for export.

Asparagus cultivation 66 percent up in north of Limburg since 2000

The area used for growing asparagus has risen by 1,230 hectares (nearly 60 percent) since 2000 to more than 3,300 ha in 2014. Statistics Netherlands announced today that asparagus cultivation spread most rapidly in the provinces of Brabant and Limburg.

2.8 billion roses imported from Africa

Africa accounts for 85 percent of imported roses. Kenya and Ethiopia are the main suppliers, chiefly because Dutch rose growers have shifted their activities to these countries. The import price of roses grown in Africa was 10 euro cents in 2013.

Number of pigs stable, but more dairy cows

The number of dairy cows has grown marginally in 2014 and more milk was delivered to dairy factories. This trend was even more noticeable in 2013. The total number of pigs again remained stable according to Statistics Netherlands.

More pears than apples picked in 2013

Last year, for the first time ever, more pears than apples were harvested, i.e. 327 million kg of pears, versus 314 million kg of apples.

Same proportion of dairy cows in the pasture in 2012 as in 2011

Last year, 70 percent of dairy cows were grazed, approximately the same proportion as in 2011. In the period 2001-2011, the proportion declined by a few percent almost every year.

Dwindling number of pigs in most EU countries

The number of pigs fell in most EU countries in the last decade, although in some countries it increased. Pig numbers increased most in Germany and Spain. The Netherlands also saw an increase in the number of pigs.

Food for thought: dietary and health trends in the Netherlands
Two thirds of the dairy farms has a successor

Nearly two thirds of the dairy farms headed by a farmer aged over 55 have a successor lined up. This means that succession in a dairy farm is twice as popular as succession in an average farm.

Growing number of dairy cattle have no access to pasture

The provisional results of the 2012 Agricultural census show that the number of grazing dairy cattle has declined considerably from 90 percent in 2001 to 70 percent in 2011.

Number of farms and market gardens reduced further

The number of agricultural and horticultural businesses was reduced further to 68.5 thousand between 1 April 2011 and 1 April 2012. Nearly 5 businesses are discontinued every day. There is a trend towards large-scale farming and large farms account for an increasing share of overall output.

More asparagus grown in the north of Limburg

The total asparagus-growing area in the Netherlands has increased substantially since 2008 by 450 hectares (18 percent) to more than 2,900 hectares.

Uncertainty analysis of mineral excretion and manure production

Since the beginning of the nineties, standard factors for manure production and nutrient excretion per livestock category have been determined by the Working group on the Uniformisation of the calculation of Manure and minerals figures (WUM). The results on manure production and mineral excretions are input to other calculations such as calculation of ammonia emissions and greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Data on ammonia emissions and greenhouse gas emissions are used by the Netherlands Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) in international reports. Within the framework of these reports, assessment of uncertainties is necessary. The Netherlands Pollutant and Transfer Register therefore asked WUM to assess uncertainties in manure production and mineral excretions.

Bumper apple and pear harvest in 2011

With 418 and 336 million kg respectively, last year was a bumper year for apples and pears. The apple harvest per capita exceeded 25 kilogrammes (kg).

More than half of farmers supplement their incomes

More than half of agricultural and horticultural enterprises in the Netherlands generated revenues in 2010 by expanding their range of activities or accepting a job not related to their own enterprise. This applies in particular to small farmers.

Horticultural sector accounts for 125 thousand jobs

The horticultural sector accounted for 125 thousand jobs in 2010, i.e. 1.4 percent of total employment in the Netherlands. Horticultural enterprises accounted for 94 thousand jobs and suppliers for 31 thousand jobs.

Marginal reduction farms and horticultural enterprises

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.

Dutch agriculture: increase in scale and lower incomes

The number of farms and horticultural businesses in the Netherlands decreased substantially in the period 1995-2009. Labour volume in this sector and agricultural income also fell.

Vineyard expansion slows down in 2009

Last year, the area where grapevines are grown was expanded by 4 hectares (ha). Between 2003 and 2009, the average annual increase was 21.5 ha.

New apple varieties increasingly popular
Farmers reduce use of fertilizers

Over the past two decades, farmers have been increasingly successful in reducing phosphate fertilization, while crop yields remained the same or even improved. The effectiveness of phosphate-containing fertilizers has improved by 60 percent.

More female farm successors

In 2008, more than 11 thousand farm successors were ready to take over an agricultural or horticultural holding; 8.5 percent of them were women, as against 6.8 percent in 2000.

Nearly 22 thousand small farmers in 2009

Last year, 30 percent of all agricultural and horticultural enterprises in the Netherlands were small-scale businesses.

More farmers generate income from supplementary activities

Non-agricultural activities like agro-tourism, nature conservation and care provision are becoming increasingly popular among farmers and market gardeners.

Further fall in farm businesses

There were 73 thousand agricultural and horticultural enterprises in the Netherlands on 1 April 2009. This is 3 percent less than twelve months previously.

Considerable increase vineyards in Gelderland

In 2008, the number of vineyards in the Netherlands had increased by 13 relative to 2007; 11 new vineyards were situated in the province of Gelderland. The total number of vineyards in Gelderland was 28, as against only 2 half a decade ago.

Ammonia emissions from animal housing still too high

Two-thirds of laying hens in the Netherlands were housed in so-called low-emission sheds in 2008. Most meat chickens, porkers, and sows were still housed in facilities where too much ammonia is emitted.

Smaller potato and seed onion crops

According to the first results of the Agricultural Survey 2009, the area used to grow ware potatoes has shrunk in 2009 relative to one year previously. The sand and peat soil areas used to grow ware potatoes have increased, but the total volume of potatoes harvested on clay soil has decreased.

Asparagus cultivation rising again since 2000

Some 2,500 hectares were used to grow asparagus in the Netherlands in 2008. This is 19 percent more land than in 2000.

Single farmers have smaller farms

Farmers whose partner also works on the farm have larger farms than single farmers or farmers who run their farm without the help of their partner.

Lower crop yields in organic farming

Last year, 2 percent of corn, bulbs and turnips in the Netherlands were grown on organic farms. Organic crop yields are (much) lower than traditionally grown crop yields.

Care-providing professions are demanding

In 2007, over one third of the employed population in the Netherlands experienced a high level of work-related stress. Another one third had jobs that were physically demanding and nearly one in eight had physically demanding jobs and worked under severe pressure of time.

Food accounts for less and less of household spending

Consumers have been confronted by strong price increases in the shops in the last six months. In spite of this they have been spending less and less of their total spending on food in recent decades.

More commercial wine growers in the Netherlands

The number of commercial wine growers in the Netherlands is rising rapidly. Last year, there were 68 wine-growing enterprises, more than twice as many as in 2003.

Nearly twice as many care farms as four years ago

In 2007, there were more than 600 farms in the Netherlands where people in need of help and care can find a suitable way to spend the day or participate in farming activities. The number of care farms grew by two thirds within the space of four years.

One in five milk cows kept stabled all year round

Last year – just like in 2006 – more than 300 thousand milk cows were kept stabled during the grazing season.

Greenhouse vegetables mainly exported

Last year, 4.4 billion kg of vegetables were harvested in the Netherlands. More than 35 percent of the total vegetable crop consists of greenhouse vegetables (cucumbers, bell peppers and tomatoes).

Record pear crop, bumper apple crop

In 2007, a record pear crop of 260 million kg was harvested, an increase by 38 million kg relative to 2006.

Dairy stock in Limburg and Brabant reduced by half

Since the introduction of milk quota regime in 1983, the Dutch dairy stock was reduced by 1.1 million (42 percent) to just under 1.5 million cattle.

More than 50 farmers quit every week

The number of agricultural holdings in the Netherlands has fallen dramatically over the past fifteen years from 120.1 thousand to 76.7 thousand, a declining rate of 55 a week. In the period 2000-2003, the rate was even higher, when 80 farmers decided to cease their farming activities every week.

Poor potato and onion crops

Dutch potato farmers are expected to lift a total amount of 4.3 billion kilograms of potatoes in 2006. This is 5 percent less than in 2005 and the smallest crop since 1998.

Arable crops considerably smaller

The 2005 arable output was substantially smaller than in the previous year. This is almost entirely due to a smaller yield per hectare and a decrease of arable land.

Potato crop average, new record for onions

Dutch potato farmers expect to lift more than 5 billion kilos of ware and seed potatoes in 2004, 11 percent more than in 2003. In 2003 the potato crop was substantially smaller because of the dry summer. The expected potato crop in 2004 is comparable with the average over the last ten years.

Potatoes: smallest crop for ten years

The production of potatoes was substantially lower last year than in 2002. The total potato crop was 6.5 billion kilos in 2003, one eighth lower than in 2002. Arable farmers lifted less than 41 thousand kilos per hectare in 2003. This is the lowest yield in ten years and was caused by the dry summer in combination with a reduction in the total area on which potatoes are grown.