The cow in the meadow is part of the Dutch landscape. FrieslandCampina encourages the member dairy farmers in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany to put their cows and young cattle out into the meadows. This is not always easily done. For instance, not all dairy farmers are able to have their cows graze outside. Sometimes they do not have enough land for grazing, sometimes the parcels are too far away from the farm.

Outdoor grazing for cows requires a lot of attention from the dairy farmers. Therefore the dairy farms that apply outdoor grazing receive extra payments. If dairy farmers have their dairy cows graze in the meadow at least 120 days per year for a minimum of 6 hours per day, they will receive an allowance of gross 1.50 euro per 100 kg milk on top of the milk price. For some dairy farmers it’s difficult or even not possible to let all cows graze outside. ‘Partial outdoor grazing’ can offer a solution here. A minimum of 25 percent of cows and young cattle present at the dairy farm must graze in the meadow for a minimum of 120 days per year. This way the dairy farmers contribute to outdoor grazing and they receive an allowance on top of the milk price. The allowance for ‘partial outdoor grazing’ is 0.46 euro per 100 kg milk.

In 2012, 81.2% of the dairy farms applied outdoor grazing for cows. In order to make sure that cows will remain part of the Dutch landscape in the future, FrieslandCampina set itself a target of reaching the level of 81.2% in 2020 again. This target was already reached in 2018.

And meanwhile in the shed…

A cow in the meadow is always a beautiful sight. However, a cow in the shed also has a good life. Our member dairy farmers make sure that the shed offers everything the cows need with respect to room to move, space, light and air, soft bedding, clean drinking water and feed. Everything must be focused on proper housing and the cow feeling comfortable.

Longevity of a cow

FrieslandCampina stimulates member dairy farmers to increase the longevity of their cows by six months in 2020 compared to 2011. In 2011, the average longevity of a cow in the Netherlands was five years, eight months and eleven days. By the end of the year 2018, the average longevity of a cow was five years, six months and fourteen days. This is a decrease of eight days compared to 2017. The main reason for this decrease is the obligatory reduction of the livestock in connection with the phosphates legislation. The longevity of the cows is expected to increase as from 2019 as a consequence of the fact that the impact of the phosphates legislation is behind us. We are working together with other parties in the sector to increase the longevity of the cows. This is mentioned in the integrated annual report of FrieslandCampina, which apart from the financial results also includes the results with respect to sustainability.

Within the ‘Duurzame Zuivelketen’ our sector also works together on continuous improvement of animal welfare.

Pasture grazing: cows in meadows 2