Saturday 01 April 2023

Fewer pigs and dairy cows on Dutch farms but goats have grown

Pigs on a factory farm. Photo: Depositphotos

Dutch farmers are keeping fewer pigs and dairy cows, but more goats, national statistics agency CBS said on Friday in a new report on the size of the country’s livestock herd.

In total, dairy farms now have almost 1.6 million cows, but this is down 7% on five years ago, the CBS said. The Netherlands is home to 14,700 dairy farms and related businesses.

The report also shows that almost half the country’s 3,300 pig farms are located in the province of Noord-Brabant, where the pro-farmers party BBB won over 18% of the vote in Wednesday’s provincial elections.

Pig farms now have an average of 3,400 pigs each, a rise of 20% in five years, but the total number of pigs kept on farms last year was down almost 10% on five years ago at 11.3 million.

The CBS said the decline in the number of pig farms was down to government subsidies to help farmers stop, and that it is mainly smaller farms which have closed down.

By contrast, the number of goats kept on farms in the Netherlands has risen by 30% over the past five years to 489,000. More than half the goat farms are in Noord-Brabant and Gelderland.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation. has been free for 16 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.