Friday, July 3, 2015 - 12:15
Dairy cattle limited to protect environment
The increase in the number of dairy cows in the Netherlands has resulted in the amount of manure, and therefore also the amount of phosphates, increasing significantly. State Secretary Sharon Dijksma of Economic Affairs has therefore decided to intervene by limiting the amount of phosphate cows may "produce" annually. "Dairy farms have not managed to stay under the production ceiling for phosphate. For that reason we have together come op with a limiting solution." Dijksma wrote in a letter to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, on Thursday She called the measures unavoidable. "This is necessary to prevent a formal notice of default from Brussels and to make development of businesses within the conditions of animal welfare and the environment possible." According to figures from Statistics Netherlands, the preliminary production of phosphate in animal husbandry amounted to 172.3 million kilos in 2014. That is just below the 172.9 kilos limit the Netherlands should keep to by European rules. But the dairy industry already exceeded its limit with a production of 86.1 million kilos. Agricultural organisation LTO called Dijksma decision to limit the amount of phosphate allowed to be reduced "radical", but also acknowledged that it is "inevitable". "The growth of dairy farming, the phosphate limit has been exceeded", Kees Romijn of LTO said to NOS. He is just happy that the limit was for the amount of phosphate and not the number of animals.