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Netherlands: Dutch Ministry Abandons Controversial Feed Measure to Limit Nitrogen Emissions

A proposal by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Quality to limit the addition of proteins in feed concentrates for dairy cattle in an effort to reduce Dutch nitrogen emissions led to strong opposition from the farm sector. In May 2020, Dutch Agriculture Minister Schouten announced that she intended to temporarily limit the use of proteins in feed as of September 1 (until the end of 2020) in order to attain a reduction of 0.2 kilotons in nitrogen emissions. Through this measure, the Ministry hoped to create space for the construction of 75,000 new homes this year (which also generates emissions). In the end, however, the Ministry elected to scrap the feed measure due to a recent period of drought in the Netherlands. Research from Wageningen University indicated that the feed measure would not have successfully reduced nitrogen emissions as more protein would need to be added to cows’ diets in order to make up for lower levels of protein in grass and ensure animal health.

Source: USDA FAS

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