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Total number of dairy cows in the Netherlands 2007-2017

Total number of dairy cows in the Netherlands from 2007 to 2017 (in 1,000s)*

by Brigitte van de Pas, last edited Aug 9, 2019
Total number of dairy cows in the Netherlands 2007-2017 A stereotypical image of the Dutch countryside would quite likely consist of flat, green meadows filled with horses, sheep and of course the world-famous black-and-white cows. And there is some truth to each stereotype: there were an impressive 1.7 million cows in the Netherlands in 2017, or roughly one-tenth of the country’s human population.
 Scaling up in dairy farming 

  In 2017, just over 18,000 farms owned dairy cows, a considerable decrease in comparison to a decade ago, when there were still over 21,300 farms with dairy cows. In the same period however, the number of cows per farm significantly increased. Whereas in 2007 the average Dutch farm had 66 dairy cows, by 2017 this had grown to 94. So although the number of farms decreased, the remaining farms had more cows to take care of. And despite the fall in farms, the number of dairy cows in the Netherlands actually continued to grow almost year-on-year.

Dairy cows in the Benelux countries

  The importance of the Netherlands in dairy farming becomes even more obvious when comparing the number of dairy cows in the country to the other Benelux countries, Belgium and Luxembourg. There were over 2.2 million dairy cows in the Benelux, but nearly three quarters of these cows were Dutch. By comparison, in Belgium there were just under 520,000 dairy cows in 2017.
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Total number of dairy cows in the Netherlands from 2007 to 2017 (in 1,000s)*

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