As the notifications for the meadow season 2018 show, this year an extra 303 member dairy farms of FrieslandCampina have switched to meadow grazing and are now putting their cows into the meadows again. The percentage of outdoor grazers within FrieslandCampina is expected to grow from 79.4 percent to about 81 percent this year. This brings the sector’s objective for the year 2020 in sight, for in that year the percentage of dairy farms applying outdoor grazing must be 81.2, the level of the year 2012.
Frans Keurentjes, Chairman of the Board of Zuivelcoöperatie FrieslandCampina U.A.: ‘It’s extremely positive news that more member dairy farmers want to make an effort to keep the cows out in the meadows. With this effort the dairy sector remains visible for the people and the characteristics of the Dutch landscape, being cows in green meadows, is preserved.’
As from 2015, the number of farms of member dairy farmers having their cows graze in the meadows has grown every year (2017: 79.4 percent; 2016: 78.2 percent and 2015: 77.9 percent). The final percentage will be determined in December, at the end of the outdoor grazing season.
Acquisition of new outdoor grazers
FrieslandCampina approached members who do not use outdoor grazing for their cows during the past months. Hundreds of them were given tailor-made advice or attended a special outdoor grazing meeting. This resulted in 303 extra member dairy farms choosing to have their cows graze in the meadows from 2018. The effect of the increase of the number of member farmers applying outdoor grazing will be known by the end of the year. The number of members resigning their memberships of FrieslandCampina will be known as well.
Characteristic for Dutch landscape
Cows in the meadows are a characteristic of the Dutch landscape and make dairy farming visible for the people. In order to keep the cows in the meadows, the Outdoor Grazing Covenant was introduced by the Dutch dairy sector, including FrieslandCampina, in the year 2012. With this covenant the signatories want to offer the cows as much as possible outdoor grazing and bring back the level of outdoor grazing back to that of 2012, which was 81.2%, in the year 2020.
Reward for outdoor grazing
In order to stimulate the outdoor grazing for cows, FrieslandCampina rewards its member dairy farmers for this. The dairy farmers will receive an outdoor grazing premium of 1.50 euro per 100 kg milk when their dairy cows graze in the meadows at least 120 days per year for a minimum of six hours a day. Partly outdoor grazing is rewarded by FrieslandCampina with 0.46 euro per 100 kg milk. In order to be eligible to this, member dairy farmers must put a minimum of 25 percent of their cattle present at the dairy farm out in the meadows for grazing at least 120 days a year for a minimum of six hours per day. Presently, about 8.6 percent of the member dairy farms of FrieslandCampina applies partly outdoor grazing. The checks are done by an independent inspector and by field employees of FrieslandCampina.
Range of meadow milk products
FrieslandCampina has a broad range of dairy products made from meadow milk. Hence enabling customers and consumers to make a conscious choice for meadow milk products thereby making a contribution in maintaining the cow in the Dutch landscape.