Dutch pig, dairy and chicken farms are getting bigger

Photo: DutchNews.nl
Not all chickens are free range. Photo: DutchNews.nl

There are fewer livestock farming businesses in the Netherlands than there were 10 years ago but the number of animals on each farm has increased sharply as the sector consolidates, according to new figures from national statistics agency CBS.

In total, poultry farms kept 98 million chickens this year, down two million on a year ago. But the number of farms has shrunk 20% over the past 10 years. Currently there are 1,711 farms in operation which specialize in chickens.

The number of pig farms has plunged 45% over the past 10 years but the total number of pigs has gone down only 1.6%, from around 12 million to 11.3 million, the CBS said. The decline is due to government schemes to help farmers cut ammonia and other emissions.

At the same time, the number of beef, veal and milk cattle on Dutch farms has remained stable at around 3.5 million but the average farm now has 110 dairy cows, compared with 83 in 2012.

The number of goats per goat farm has also risen by almost 50% to 735, but there are also more goat farms. The total rose from 223 to 330 over the 10 year period.

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