More farmers are putting their dairy cows out to pasture, even though farms are getting bigger, the national statistics office CBS said on Friday.
Last year, 76.5% of the Netherlands dairy farms put their cows outside for at least part of the year, a rise of one percentage point on 2015, the CBS said.
At the same time, the number of cows in the Dutch herd rose by 123,000. ‘This would imply that farms which already put their animals out to pasture are continuing to do so, even if they are getting bigger,’ the CBS said in a statement.
Nevertheless, 35% of Dutch cows live their entire lives in barns, compared with just 20% 10 years ago, the figures show.
Farmers in Noord-Brabant, Limburg, Flevoland and Zeeland – where the country’s biggest dairy farms are concentrated – are more likely to keep their cows indoors.
Nine in 10 dairy farmers in Noord and Zuid-Holland put their cows out to pasture.
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