THE NETHERLANDS, Amsterdam. In the 11 months to November 2019, Dutch beef production totalled 387,100 t, down 9% on the year. The majority of this decline came from lower production of beef from adult cattle (-38,400 t), particularly cows. Veal production from calves aged 0 to 12 months rose slightly from 2018 to 241,200 t (+0.5%), accounting for over 60% of the total production figure.
Provisional Dutch cattle numbers for 2019 stand at 3.8 million head, down 3% (+116,000 head) from 2018. The majority of this decline has come from a fall in the number of dairy replacements on farms (-108,900 head), as the country continues to shrink its dairy herd to meet phosphate regulations. Meanwhile, the number of calves destined for veal production rose (+43,700 head). The Dutch dairy herd (cows >2yrs) stood at 1.58 million head, down 45,100 head from 2018. Any further reduction in cattle numbers could further limit beef and dairy production in the country.
Dutch exports of fresh and frozen beef for the 10 months to October 2019 totalled 401,000 t, up 1.3% on the same period last year. Shipments to Germany - their largest customer - remained stable (+400 t), while more was sent to Belgium (+1,400 t) and African countries. This helped to offset lower volumes sent to France (-3,700 t), Denmark (-3,200 t), and Italy (-600 t).
Imports also rose year-on-year. In the 10 months to October 2019, the Netherlands imported 355,100 t of fresh and frozen beef, up 4% on the same period in 2018. Substantial growth in imports from Poland (+11,400 t) and the UK (+10,600 t) helped to offset losses from Belgium (-11,800 t), and a modest increase from Germany (+1,700 t).