In the last two decades, the number of dairy goats has increased almost fivefold. This is evident from new figures from the Agricultural Census of the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). With the exception of a contraction in 2010 due to Q fever, the number of dairy goats in our country increased annually.
A spokesperson for Statistics Netherlands calls the further growth striking, because many other sectors are struggling with shrinkage and the goat sector is facing a construction freeze. “But a construction freeze does not mean that you can no longer keep goats.”
There is also a lag effect because companies had already applied for permits before the building freeze. So there are still new stables.
According to the CBS spokesman, the growth, especially because companies keep more goats, is not entirely surprising. The market conditions for goat’s milk are favorable. ‘There is still something to be earned and then it is attractive to keep as many goats as possible. Every goat brings in money. ‘
According to the spokesman, the growth is due to scaling up. The number of goat dairy farms even decreased slightly, from 574 in 2019 to 569 in 2020. This decline is partly due to the fact that the number of organic goat dairy farms decreased by 3 to 71. Together they milk roughly 41,500 goats, which is 8.7 percent of the total dairy goat sector .
In this total sector, the average number of dairy goats per farm increased from 782 in 2019 to 837 this year. At the beginning of this century, there were 40 farms with 500 or more dairy goats, 5 percent of the total number of farms with dairy goats. In 2020 that had grown to 323 companies, more than half.
However, dairy goat farming is becoming increasingly efficient. The number of annual work units, which corresponds to a full-time job per dairy goat, has decreased by 80 percent in the last twenty years. In 2000 there were 1.5 annual work units per 100 dairy goats, in 2020 this had decreased to 0.3. On a farm with dairy goats, an average of 2.7 annual work units work. On a farm with dairy cows, this is an average of 2.2.
About 30 percent of the work on farms with dairy goats is done by non-family workers. A farm with dairy cows is more often employed by family workers, they account for 90 percent of the annual work units.
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