In most EU countries, the number of cattle on livestock farms has fallen by more than one and a half percent. New Eurostat data shows that in the 17 countries for which data are available, the number of cattle decreased last year by 950,000 cattle or 1.6% to 59.68 million animals.
The decrease mainly occurred in the two largest production countries. In France, the number of cattle fell by 3.2% to 18.17 million head, followed by Germany (- 2.9%; 11.64 million). The decline in Belgium and Romania was slightly lower at around 1.5% each.
A similar picture emerged in dairy cows, where dairy farming was restricted in 11 of the 17 EU countries surveyed. According to Eurostat, the total number of dairy cows in those countries has decreased with about 220,000 animals (1.4%) to 15.90 million cows.
In 2020, the cattle population grew slightly for the first time in several years in the Netherlands. On the spring counting date, the Netherlands had 3.8 million cattle, 0.7 percent more. The number of dairy cows increased by 1.0 percent to 1.6 million.
The Dutch cattle population had shrunk in the years 2017, 2018 and 2019. In 2017, the phosphate reduction plan for dairy farming came into effect. Companies then sold dairy cattle to stop the growth of the herd, according to the CBS at the time. Last year the cattle stock grew slightly again.
Especially in Lithuania (-3.4%), Germany (- 2.3%; 3.92 mi.) And France (-1.6%) fewer dairy cows were kept, and in the Czech Republic, Romania and Poland between 1.4% and 1, 9% less. The dairy cow barn in Spain and Italy was almost at the level of last year. The milk producers in Denmark, Belgium and Sweden had between 0.4% and 1% more cows on the farm.
In Denmark the number of cattle remained unchanged, in Poland, Italy and Spain there was a moderate increase in herd numbers between 0.3% and 0.5%. Greece and Cyprus alone had significantly larger herds of livestock, 1.7% and 4.6%, respectively, than a year earlier.