Dutch dairy expansion could be curtailed by new phosphate limits

The Dutch government recently introduced new phosphate limits which have dairy farmers in the country concerned.

The new measures mean there is a fixed limit to the amount of phosphate per hectare that can be produced across all agricultural sectors. The move has led to criticism from dairy farmers many of whom are already close to that limit.

The knock-on impact of the new rules is that Dutch dairy farmers looking expand their herds are likely to need more land in order to meet the restrictions.

However, with land prices are as high as €80,000 per hectare in the Netherlands, it could discourage some from increasing their production.

Latest data confirms the Netherlands as the fourth largest milk producing state in the EU and the country has been investing, in infrastructure and cows, in preparation for the end of milk quotas.

Production for April-June 15 is around 6% higher than the previous year.

The dairy sector is one of the most important engines of the Dutch economy. Dutch dairy farming and the dairy industry have a total production value of €12 billion euros.

In 2012, the dairy sector exported €7 billion euros in products in that year 8 cents of every euro earned by a Dutch company abroad came from dairy.

Recent figures suggest the sector is responsible for 45,000 direct jobs in the Netherlands. In size, the dairy sector it is 1/6 of the total food industry in the Netherlands – bigger than the Dutch electrical appliance, pharmaceutical or automobile industries.

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