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More Dutch dairy cows are put out to pasture, but for shorter periods

More dairy farmers are putting their cows out to pasture but the animals themselves are outdoors for shorter periods, national statistics agency CBS said on Tuesday.

In 2015, 35% of Dutch dairy cows were kept permanently indoors, but this has now gone down to 25%, the CBS said. Some 83% of dairy farmers now put their animals  in their fields for at least some of the day, compared with 76% in 2015.

That year a campaign to persuade farmers to allow their herds to go outside started, which included a higher price for ‘pasture milk’. Since 2016, the number of outdoor dairy cows has increased every year.

However, most cows are still brought inside at night, and this means the average length of time a cow spends outdoors has gone down from 1,700 hours in 2013 to 1,300 last year.

Large farms often do not have enough land to allow cows to remain outdoors both day and night, the CBS said.


Dairy farmers are still considering whether to join the round table talks aimed at solving the dispute between the sector and the government, which is struggling to tackle nitrogen-compound pollution.

Dairy farm manure is one of the sources and hundreds of farms are either earmarked for closure or will have to slash the size of their herds.

The talks, under the auspices of government mediator Johan Remkes, are due to start on Friday. Radical farmers groups have also not yet said if they will take part.


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