Land-related dairy farming
The dairy sector wants to be and remain a land-related sector. This is important for the dairy farming sector, the living environment and society. A land-related dairy farm has sufficient land and makes optimum use of the manure, making sure that the grass and other feed crops for the cattle can grow. In this way the cycle is closed.
In order to achieve this, the Sustainable Dairy Chain starts from the report Grondgebondenheid als basis voor een toekomstbestendige melkveehouderij [Land-relatedness as a basis for future-proof dairy farming], which the independent Commission for Land-relatedness in Dairy Farming published at the request op LTO Nederland and the NZO in 2018.
Support from society
The vision on land-related dairy farming is the way for the sector to remain future-proof with support from society. Growing grass and feed crops and making optimum use of manure for this at the own farm and nearby, if possible in cooperation with other sectors, e.g. the agricultural sector, make a contribution to closing the cycle, cutting down emissions and caring for the soil. Therefore land-relatedness is a precondition for achieving other sustainability objectives and corresponds with the cycle vision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.
Implementation of the advice of Grondgebondenheid als basis voor een toekomstbestendige melkveehouderij [Land-relatedness as a basis for future-proof dairy farming] is a way of working towards the anchoring of land-relatedness. By following a still to be drawn up action plan, the advice will be integrally implemented together with the partners required for this implementation as mentioned in the advice.
Four building blocks of land-relatedness
- At least 65% of the protein in the feed of the cow must come from the own land or from the direct surroundings of the dairy farm. This means that every dairy farm must be able to supply a large part of its own need for protein.
- For setting up local roughage-manure cycles, a dairy farmer can enter into a neighbourhood contract with another farmer within a radius of 20 kilometres concerning the supply and the buying of manure. Only if the dairy farmer can produce at least 50 percent of his need for roughage on his own land, it is possible to enter into a neighbourhood contract.
- For the land-related character of a dairy farm, a large enough land parcel with grass is needed. This facilitates grazing and provides an attractive image of the dairy farming sector in the typically Dutch cultural landscape. A dairy farm may have a maximum of 10 dairy cows per hectare land parcel suitable for grazing in 2025.
- Because of a higher self-sufficiency rate for protein, the need for importing protein-rich raw materials, such as soy and palm kernels, strongly decreases. This means less dependence on the world market and less pressure on the nature in South America and South-east Asia. The import of these raw materials for use in dairy cows’ feed must have been reduced by two thirds in 2025.
A video explaining land-related dairy farming (in Dutch)