Press release

Government delivers confidence boost for dairy farmers

National project on accuracy of milk measurement: Summary of results and further action.

Photo of a cow being milked.

A new industry code of practice for milk measurement from farm to dairy is set to be developed, to improve the business confidence of farmers trading in a challenging economic climate.

A government investigation found no evidence of inaccuracies in milk measurements but did conclude that the methods used varied considerably. All parties have agreed to work together to produce guidance on an agreed process to boost transparency and confidence in milk measurement.

The joint National Measurement and Regulation Office (NMRO) and Trading Standards fact-finding project was launched in response to concerns from dairy farmers. The quantity measurement of the milk they sell has become increasingly important as the margins on milk production have narrowed through falling prices and oversupply in global markets.

An NMRO spokesman said:

Our investigations found no evidence of inaccurate measurement, but the methods used vary considerably. With dairy farmers being squeezed so tightly on price, it is vital they have confidence they are getting paid for every drop of milk they produce.

NMRO has met with Dairy UK, the trade association representing the UK dairy industry, and agreed to work with them, together with Trading Standards enforcement, to produce an industry code of practice. The code will give famers the assurance they need that the milk measurement process is fair and accurate.

Head of Communications

James Devenish
National Measurement and Regulation Office
Stanton Avenue

Teddington
Middlesex
TW11 0JZ

Notes for Editors:

The NMRO, is an Executive Agency of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. Its remit is to simplify technical regulation for the benefit of British business.

Dairy farming is an important agricultural sector for UK plc as well as for many rural communities. It is the single largest agricultural sector in the UK accounting for around 17% of agricultural production by value.

Milk from cows produced by farmers is sold to dairies mainly on the basis of volume measurement. Measuring Instruments used for this purpose are not regulated in the UK, but measurements used for trade must be fair and accurate.

17 Local Weights and Measures Authorities from all across the UK took part in the project with 77 farms, 12 dairies and 6 tanker depots visited and nine tanker meter measuring systems examined for evidence of measurement traceability.

Read the full report on the project.

Image courtesy of creative commons.

Published 5 November 2015