15.4% of the Dutch dairy farmers plan to extend his/her dairy farm. This percentage has been declining over the last four years. This is the conclusion from a survey from Dutch market bureau AgriDirect.
They found that the percentage of this year is even less than half of what was measured in 2012. The number of successors have almost stabilised over the last years. The survey was done amongst 8,000 Dutch dairy farmers and held in the period April to June. The farmers all had a minimum of 50 dairy cows.
The percentage of Dutch dairy farmers that stopped farming has almost doubled. In 2015, 1.4% of farmers plan to exit the business. In 2016, this percentage increased to 2.7%. At 52.2% of dairy farms (with a farmer of 50 years or older), the farmer is positive that there will be a successor for sure. At 19.9% of the farms, the successor is pretty much ready to take over and at 32.3% of the farms, the successor is already active in the farm in the form of a partnership.
Kees Romijn, chairman of the Dutch farmers’ organisation (LTO) says: "The fact that fewer dairy farmers have plans to extend their farm is due to two reasons: the continuing low milk prices and the future phosphate rules for farmers. Entrepreneurs adopt a wait-and-see attitude and this is logical.”
On the other hand, Romijn addresses the stable development regarding successors. "The percentage of 'ready to start’ successors has even slightly increased again. There are plenty of energetic farmers who see a bright future for our industry. That's a hopeful sign."
Emmy Koeleman studied Animal Sciences at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. She is the editor of Dairy Global and All About Feed.