In the Netherlands about 20.000 farms produce milk. They make use of about 70% of total Dutch agricultural area to grow grass and forage maize. Only a small number of these farms is mixed with arable crops, pigs, poultry etc., so most are specialized dairy farms. About 53% of these farms are on sandy soils, 28% on clay soils and 19% on peat soils. Indoor work is done by the farmer, field work mostly by a contractor. Dutch farms in general do not have paid labor. Automatic milking now is practiced by 10% of the farms and is increasing fast. The annual decrease in the number of farms is about 3%.

Environmental regulations and main constraints

In January 2010 the 4th Action program Nitrate Directive started. In 2010 permitted organic manure (including excretion during grazing) is 250 kg N/ha if 70% of AA is grassland. Surface application of slurry is not permitted (ammonia, smell). Application period: 1 Feb - 1 Sept. In addition about 140 kg N/ha as mineral fertilizer. Farmers have to grow a nitrate catch crop after maize harvest.

Permitted fertilization P2O5 (organic and inorganic, including excrements grazing): grassland 95 kg/ha, maize 80 kg/ha (will be reduced to 60 kg in 2014).
Many farms face problems with ammonia. They only can grow if ammonia volatilization is reduced (to protect neighboring Natura 2000 objects). In general, reduction of gaseous losses (ammonia and green house gasses) will be important in farm development.
Main other problems are high land price (€ 45.000/ha) and high costs for export of slurry surplus (€ 15 /m3).

Water quality of the region

  • N: good in clay and peat regions, still not good enough on dry sandy soils with a maize crop, but improving.
  • P: problems in some sandy regions where high doses of slurry were applied in the past.

Average region information

Agriculture area 47 ha
% grassland 83
% forage crops (maize…) On average 17,
- on sandy soils 25
- on peat soils 0
% others crops 0
Mineral fertilizer per ha 129 kg N
11 kg P2O5 (average 2006)
Dairy cows 80
Milk per cow 7,600 kg
Milk quota 615,000 kg
Main diet of the cows 35% grazed grassland
35% grazed silage+hay
30% maize silage
2,100 Kg concentrate/cows
Time in pasture and period 10 h/day grazing
1 May – 1 November

Pilot Farms

  • R. Baltus Waardweg 7 1775 PJ Middenmeer
  • Mts Hagoort Oosteinde 24 3466 LB Waarder
  • J. Buijs Bollendonkseweg 21 4874 NT Etten-leur
  • A. en Jennifer Houbraken Bredasedijk 35 5571 VB Bergeijk
  • R. de Wolff Lindedijk 25 8482 KS Spanga
  • Mts. J.C. Post Middenraai 13 7912 TG Nieuweroord
  • J.N.M. Dekker Sternweg 26 3898 LJ Zeewolde
  • Mts. Pijnenborg-Van Kempen Timmermannsweg 113 5813 AM Ysselsteyn (l)
  • P.A.M. Hoefmans Flaasdijk 3 5131 PC Alphen (nb)
  • Mts. Sikkenga-Bleker Westerdijkshorn 31 9781 TG Bedum
  • J. De Kleijne Gemertsebaan 4 5445 NA Landhorst
  • C.J. Van Wijk De Lage Paarden 4 4181 PN Waardenburg
  • J.B.V. Kuks Vlasreutenweg 2 7638 PM Nutter
  • Mts. Menkveld en Wijnbergen Domineesteeg 3 7213 LP Gorssel
  • V.O.F. M.& A. de Vries Benedenheulseweg 31 2821 LV Stolwijk
  • Fam. Van Hoven Keerestraat 7 6251 Margraten