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How to Start Dairy Farming in the Netherlands?

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How to Start Dairy Farming in the Netherlands

How to Start Dairy Farming in the Netherlands? Dairy farming is a significant agricultural industry in the Netherlands. Many dairy farms exist throughout the country, providing a variety of goods such as milk, cheese, and butter. Farmers in the Netherlands must adhere to severe environmental regulations, which necessitates investments in methods such as methane digestion and rainwater collection. These investments contribute to the sustainability and environmental friendliness of Dutch dairy production.

Dairy farming has a long history in the Netherlands and is an important aspect of the country’s agricultural business. The Dutch dairy industry is highly efficient and technologically advanced, resulting in high-quality milk products that are sold worldwide.

What is Dairy Farming in the Netherlands?

Dairy farming has a long history in the Netherlands and is an important aspect of the country’s economy. The Netherlands is a leading exporter of dairy products in the world, and Dutch dairy farms are noted for their strong animal welfare standards. Furthermore, the majority of Dutch dairy farms are family-run companies, with many being passed down through generations.

As a result, dairy farming has become a way of life for many Dutch families, and the strong bond between humans and their animals is what distinguishes Dutch dairy farms. The Netherlands offers a temperate environment that is ideal for grass cultivation. This means that Dutch dairy cows spend a lot of time outside munching on fresh grass, which keeps them healthy and happy. As a result, Dutch dairy cows are among the world’s best-fed.

They eat largely hay and grass, with some grains thrown in for good measure. This diet promotes the production of high-quality, nutritious milk. Dairy farms in the Netherlands are very efficient, employing cutting-edge technology to produce milk in a safe and efficient manner. The Dutch dairy industry is similarly well-regulated, with high animal welfare, food safety, and environmental protection regulations apply to all farms.

Dairy Cow Breeds

  1. Holstein Friesian Cattle
  2. Lakenvelder Cattle
  3. Meuse Rhine Issel
  4. Blaarkop
  5. German Black Pied Cattle
  6. Boškarin

How to Start Dairy Farming in the Netherlands?

Start Dairy Farming in the Netherlands

Specialized Dairy Breeds to Start Dairy Farming in the Netherlands

To suit market demands, Dutch dairy farmers have developed a diverse range of specialist dairy breeds. These breeds were chosen for their capacity to produce milk with a high fat and protein content. Dutch dairy producers employ a number of management strategies to produce milk that fulfils the market’s high-quality standards. They use sophisticated milking facilities and equipment, as well as tight sanitary measures. Dutch dairy farmers routinely test their milk for bacteria and other pollutants to assure the safety of their products.

The Dutch dairy industry is world-renowned for its high standards of animal husbandry and milk production. Dairy farms in the Netherlands are typically huge businesses with numerous cows housed in close quarters. This enables great levels of efficiency and output, with Dutch dairy farms producing some of the world’s highest-quality milk. Several dairy breeds are native to the Netherlands, including the Holstein, Jersey, and Dutch Friesian.

  1. The Holstein breed is the most common in the country, accounting for over 60% of the dairy cattle population.
  2. Jersey is the second most common breed, accounting for around 20% of all dairy cows.
  3. The Dutch Friesian is the third most common breed, accounting for around 15% of all dairy cows. However, other less frequent dairy breeds in the Netherlands include the Ayrshire, Guernsey, and Milking Shorthorn.

Dairy Production Systems

The Netherlands is a significant supplier of dairy products around the globe, and the Dutch dairy industry is noted for its high-tech and efficient production processes. In the Netherlands, there are three types of dairy farms: intense (or “factory”) farms, extensive (or “grassland”) farms, and mini-dairies.

  1. Large intensive dairy farms with hundreds of cows are common. Cows are housed indoors all year and fed a strict diet of grains, hay, and other supplements. Furthermore, to enhance milk production, these farms use contemporary milking equipment and other technological breakthroughs. Intensive dairy farms are big operations that produce high yields using current equipment and procedures. These farms often hold hundreds or even thousands of cows and produce the majority of the milk in the country.
  2. Extensive dairy farms have fewer cows and are smaller businesses. Cows spend most of the year grazing on grassy pastures, supplemented by hay in the winter. As a result, farms are turning to more traditional methods, such as hand-milking and grazing. Large dairy farms are smaller businesses that employ less intensive methods and technologies. As a result, they typically have fewer cows.
  3. Mini-dairies are the tiniest sort of dairy farm, with only a few dozen cows. These farms are more environmentally friendly than larger businesses since they produce less trash and emit fewer emissions.

Importance to Start Dairy Farming in the Netherlands

  1. The Netherlands is a prominent dairy farming country in the globe, with a long tradition of manufacturing high-quality milk products. The Dutch dairy industry is well-known for its forward-thinking approach to sustainable farming practices and commitment to animal welfare.
  2. The Netherlands has a long history of family-run dairy farms, with many farmers passing down their farms from generation to generation. As a result, Dutch dairy farmers are very efficient, producing milk using some of the most advanced machinery and equipment in the world.
  3. Because of the Netherlands’ tiny land area, Dutch dairy farmers have had to adopt intensive farming practices in order to succeed. The Dutch dairy sector is highly innovative, with many farmers adopting cutting-edge technologies and procedures to enhance output.
  4. Within the Dutch dairy business, there has been a rising emphasis on animal welfare. As a result, farmers have made tremendous headway in minimising cow stress and providing enough grazing spaces and suitable housing. The Netherlands has over 4,000 commercial dairy farms that produce over 14 billion litres of milk per year.

Opportunities for Dairy Production

  1. The population of the Netherlands is large, therefore there is a significant demand for dairy products. As a result, dairy farmers have the opportunity to produce milk, cheese, butter, and yoghurt for the Dutch market. There is also the possibility of exporting dairy products to other European countries.
  2. The Netherlands has a long dairy farming legacy and is well-known for its high-quality milk and cheese. Dutch dairy farmers are efficient producers with access to cutting-edge technology and management techniques. As a result, the Netherlands is one of the world’s largest dairy exporters.
  3. The climate is ideal for grass-fed dairy production. The Netherlands has enough of space for pasture and hay production.
  4. The Dutch government provides financial assistance to farmers that want to expand their businesses or transition to organic farming. There are also programmes to assist new farmers in getting started in the industry.
  5. The Netherlands boasts a robust agricultural infrastructure, comprising a vast network of roads, trains, and canals. This facilitates the transportation of milk and other dairy products to processing plants and markets both within and outside the country.
  6. Dutch customers are among the world’s largest buyers of cheese, and they want high-quality goods.

Steps to Start a Dairy Farming Business Plan

1. Choose a Location to Start Dairy Farming in the Netherlands

The location of your farm will have an impact on a variety of things, including land costs, labour availability, and transportation expenses. As a result, it is critical to consider these criteria while deciding on a place for your farm. After obtaining your permission and locating adequate land, you must purchase some dairy cows. The Netherlands has a range of dairy cow varieties, so do some study to discover the ideal breed for your needs.

2. Obtain the Necessary Permits and Licenses

Before you start your farm, you must obtain the necessary licences and licences from the Dutch government. This contains a company permit, an environmental permit, and a dairy farm licence. To begin, you must receive a permit from the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture and Food Quality.

All commercial farms, regardless of size or type, must obtain this authorization. You will need to acquire suitable land to develop your farm once you have obtained your permission. Because agricultural land in the Netherlands is subject to rigorous laws, it is critical to contact local officials before purchasing any property.

3. Purchase Dairy Cows

After purchasing farmland, you must acquire dairy cows. It is critical to choose cows that are well-suited to your farm’s environment and conditions. You’ll also need to buy milking and care equipment, as well as supplies for feeding and sheltering the cows.

4. Purchase the Necessary Equipment

Following the acquisition of your cows, you will need to construct homes for them as well as purchase the appropriate milking and feeding equipment.

5. Registration for Your Business

The last stage in establishing your dairy farm is to register it with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. This registration is essential for all enterprises in the Netherlands and will allow you to legally operate your farm.

Dairy Farm Problems

In recent years, the Dutch dairy industry has faced a number of issues. One of the most serious issues has been the drop in milk prices, which has made it difficult for farmers to earn a profit. In addition, there have been price increases for animal feed and veterinarian treatment. The Dutch government has implemented many steps to assist dairy producers, but these have had little impact thus far. As a result, many farms are closing their doors, and the future of the industry is questionable.

Loans and Subsidies to Start Dairy Farming in the Netherlands

To encourage dairy farmers to start or expand their operations, the Dutch government provides a number of loans and subsidies. The Dairy Farming Investment Scheme, for example, provides loans of up to €1 million for investment in new dairy farms or expansion of existing ones. These loans have an interest rate that is 1% lower than the market rate.

Subsidies are also available for the purchase of dairy cows, heifers, and calves. Both new and experienced farmers are eligible for these subsidies. A cow receives a maximum subsidy of €700, a heifer receives €400, and a calf receives PKR 60,000.
Furthermore, the government provides many tax incentives to dairy farmers. They can, for example, get the VAT back on purchases of grain, animals, and equipment. They also benefit from lower income tax rates and social security contributions.

Tips to Start Dairy Farming

  1. Choose the type of dairy farming that you want to do.
  2. Investigate the costs and prerequisites for establishing a dairy farm in the Netherlands.
  3. Choose a site for your farm.
  4. Obtain all required permits and licences.
  5. Build or buy essential farm structures and equipment.
  6. Purchase dairy cows from an established breeder.
  7. Hire experienced personnel to assist you in running your farm.
  8. Create a marketing strategy for selling milk and other dairy products.
  9. To safeguard your cows from disease, implement stringent biosecurity practices on your farm.

Dairy Farming Areas

Dairy farming is an important agricultural sector in the Netherlands, with numerous dairy farms located in productive farmland areas of the country. Zeeland, North and South Holland, and Flevoland are the primary dairying regions in the Netherlands. These places are great for dairy products since they have extensive tracts of flat land and easy access to water resources.

Is dairy farming profitable in the Netherlands?

Dairy farming is indeed profitable in the Netherlands. Many reasons contribute to its profitability, including a favourable climate for dairy production and high demand for dairy products. Farmers are also given financial assistance by the government, making it easier for them to invest in their businesses.

Rules to Start Dairy Farming in the Netherlands

Understanding the norms and regulations of the Netherlands is required while designing a dairy farm. The first step is to acquire permission from the Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality Ministry. Following that, you must develop a business strategy and submit it to the Dutch Dairy Board. After your dairy farm has been approved, you must purchase cows, construct houses, and set up a milking facility. You’ll also need to get insurance and hire workers. Finally, your dairy farm must be registered with the Chamber of Commerce.

Set-Up Cost to Start Dairy Farming in the Netherlands

Starting a dairy farm in the Netherlands can be an expensive venture. When budgeting for your startup expenditures, you should consider the cost of land, the cost of buildings and infrastructure, and the cost of animals. As a result, if you want to start a dairy farm in the Netherlands, you should consider these costs before making any final decisions.

The cost of constructing a dairy farm will also vary based on the project’s size and scope. A small dairy farm with a few cows, for example, could cost as low as PKR 12.05 Million to develop, whereas a major commercial dairy business could cost up to PKR 1.2 Billion. As a result, before undertaking any building project, contact an expert contractor to obtain an exact estimate of all associated costs.

Challenges of Dairy Farming

  1. The dairy sector in the Netherlands is highly industrialised and efficient, producing a diverse range of dairy products for both home and international markets. Dutch dairy producers, on the other hand, confront a number of obstacles, including variable milk prices, growing production costs, and stringent environmental restrictions.
  2. In the Netherlands, environmental rules are also growing more stringent. Dairy farms must follow stringent guidelines for waste management, water consumption, and emissions from livestock facilities. This can significantly increase operating expenses, making it even more critical for farmers to discover strategies to enhance efficiency.
  3. Dutch dairy farmers have some of the highest production expenses in the world. This is primarily due to a combination of reasons, including the high cost of land, labour, and feed.
  4. The Netherlands is a rather tiny country. This means that other countries, particularly those with larger populations and lower manufacturing costs, will face tough competition.
  5. The Dutch dairy industry is under increasing pressure to become more sustainable in terms of environmental and animal welfare considerations. As a result, farmers are being asked to accomplish more with less, which can be difficult.
  6. Despite these issues, the Dutch dairy business still has many prospects. The country has a long history of dairy farming and is home to some of the world’s biggest dairy enterprises. Furthermore, the Netherlands has a favourable dairy climate and is well-connected to worldwide markets.


The Netherlands’ dairy farms are among the most efficient in the world. The Dutch dairy industry is very competitive, with many farmers employing cutting-edge ways to boost productivity. The country has a rich dairy farming legacy, and its high-quality products are exported to countries all over the world. The Dutch are well-known for their high-quality dairy products.

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