Although the total number of farms in the Netherlands is down, the total number of pigs has grown for the sixth time in a row. Economics of scale is the trend, Dutch agricultural newspaper Agrarisch Dagblad writes.
The Dutch central statistics agency CBS counted that in total there are 12,251,000 pigs – which equals a growth of 1.1 million pigs since 2004. In comparison to last year there is an increase of 70,000 pigs. According to Cor Pierik, CBS, the growth of the pig numbers will decrease, as there are not many legal permits left to be used for expansion. Pierik spoke about a 'ceiling' having been reached.
On average, at every Dutch pig farm, 1,700 animals are being kept, which is up 8% from one year ago. The largest farms can be found in the provinces of Brabant and Limburg in the South and Drenthe in the North.
Total farm numbers
The total number of farms having pigs went down from 7,548 to 7,030. The number of pig breeding farms decreased from 3,127 to 2,951. Nevertheless, the total number of farms having finishers came down at a faster rate, from 6,518 to 5,952. Pierik said this decrease is caused by farms keeping finishers as 'extra' now shut up shop. Total numbers of finishers have grown by about 29,000 pigs.
What is striking as well in the CBS figures is that the number of very large pigs to Dutch standards (with 5,000 pigs or more) has grown by 20, leading up to a total of 133. The majority of large farms can be found in Brabant – the number of larger farms grew there from 58 to 74.
From the figures, an image is distilled of economies of scale.