Fewer pigs and more cows in the Netherlands last year

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The number of pigs in the Netherlands fell by 1.6 percent last year. There are now 11.3 million, Statistics Netherlands reports. The pig herd has been shrinking since 2018, partly because stoppers have received subsidies in recent years. In total, the number of pigs has fallen by 9 percent since then.

It is mainly small pig farmers who are stopping, as a result of which the average number of animals per farm has risen from 2883 to 3446 in five years. Almost half of all pigs in the Netherlands are kept in North Brabant.


The number of cattle in the Netherlands increased slightly last year, by 0.4 percent to 3.8 million. Compared to 2017, there is a decrease of 6 percent. According to Statistics Netherlands, this is partly due to the phosphate reduction plan, which forced companies to sell dairy cattle.

Just as in pig farming, in the dairy sector it is mainly the smaller farms that are closing down, which means that the number of cows per farm is increasing. The average dairy farmer now has 107 cows, compared to 94 in 2017.

The 1.57 million dairy cows in the Netherlands form the largest category of cattle, followed by veal calves (1.04 million animals) and young cattle for dairy farming (980,000). The slight increase last year is due to growth in the latter category. The number of cattle in the other categories remained the same or decreased slightly.

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