For the last 20 years 70 North German farms with intensive dairy enterprises have been surveyed and analysed. The data taken from these farms relate to the period from 1980/81 to 1995/96 and show that dairy farming and fodder production had to adapt to changing circumstances. Besides the introduction of milk production quotas (1983) and the reform of agricultural policy (1993), the farms had to react to sustained changes in producer and input prices. Over the 16-year period analysed, an increase in milk yield/cow per annum of about 1000 kg is observed. This increase in efficiency was made possible by improvements in the quality of home grown fodder as a result of the move away from intercropping, a higher frequency of cuttings for grass silage and an increase in maize silage. The CAP reform has shifted price relations in favour of concentrates and maize silage and dairy farmers are responding by adapting feeding in order not to endanger the level of productivity now reached. The price advantage for maize silage can in the long term result in suspending grass silage. There will be disadvantages of locations for grassland regions. In the meantime byproducts of industrial food production (as sugarbeet pulp, brewers' grains) have reached a share of 5% of the total amount of home grown fodder.