Average lifetime production per cow leaps by more than 1200 kg


A huge leap forward in the lifetime production achieved by cows at culling has been revealed in the 2018-2019 financial year. Compared with the previous financial year, lifetime production has increased by 1210 kg of milk and 96 kg of fat and protein. This is the first time that such a significant difference has been shown in two consecutive financial years. At culling, Dutch cows now note lifetime production that averages 31,553 kg of milk, with 1371 kg of fat and 1120 kg of protein. A combination of a longer productive life and higher milk production is behind this increase.

In the 2018-2019 financial year, Dutch dairy cows produced an average of 9155 kg of milk with 3.59% protein, resulting in 723 kg of fat and protein.  This performance continues the trend of increasing milk production and a higher percentage of protein. At the same time, the positive trend in fertility has also continued. The calving interval now stands at 407 days, a decrease of two days compared with the previous financial year.

Lifetime production per cow increased again this year to reach 31,553 kg of milk with 4.35% fat and 3.55% protein. Following two years in which Dutch dairy farmers culled high numbers of cows, this year’s figures were considerably lower: 233,374 cows compared with 318,712 and 354,451 in the two preceding financial years. The number of farms in the Milk Recording annual statistics fell to 13,493 (-4.5%).

Farm performances

Many well-known names appear on the list of farms that recorded the highest average production. Top of the list is the van Berkum dairy farm in Elahuizen, in the province of Friesland. Their herd of 275 cows produced a rolling annual average of 14,843 kg of milk with 3.77% fat and 3.53% protein, followed by the van der Mark farm in Veenwouden – also in Friesland. Taking third place is the Mooijman farm in Westerwijtwerd.

60 years of 100-tonners

It was exactly 60 years ago that the first cow in the Netherlands reached the exceptional milestone of 100,000 kg of milk production. In this book year, 2,246 cows equaled this amazing performance. That equates to more than six per day and 99 cows more than in the previous financial year. Over the past 60 years a total of 37,777 cows have smashed this magical barrier.


Production increased again this year across all breeds. Milk yields of black-and-white Holsteins rose again from 10,258 to 10,522 kg. With 4.30% fat and 3.54% protein produced in 354 days, this has resulted in a higher economic annual result (EAR) of 2118. Red-and-white Holsteins produced fewer kg of milk on average than black-and-white, but with higher components. The milk yield increased to 9,718 kg of milk with 4.50% fat and 3.65% protein, leading to an EAR of 2033. More information on the performance of Dutch dairy cows can be found in the attachment.