Guidance

How to dispose of milk from your farm or dairy

Find out how you can dispose of milk at the farm where it was produced, and the restrictions that apply once milk has left the farm.

How to dispose of milk at the farm where it was produced

While milk and colostrum is on the farm where it was produced, animal by-product (ABP) regulations don’t apply. As long as it stays on the farm, you can dispose of it how you want, including:

  • spreading it on your land without stopping animals from grazing on the land (the 21 day grazing ban doesn’t apply)
  • feeding it to calves on your premises

Although ABP regulations don’t apply, you must apply for a waste disposal permit from the Environment Agency before spreading milk on your farm, unless you qualify for an exemption from waste permitting.

Email the Environment Agency customer contact centre or call 03708 506 506 between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, if you have queries about permitting.

You can’t flush milk or colostrum down a sewer, as the milk would then be considered to have left your premises.

How to dispose of milk from animal gatherings

ABP regulations don’t apply to milk produced from animals attending a licensed animal gathering (such as a dairy show), as long as the milk stays at the site of the gathering.

You can dispose of the milk how you want within the perimeter of the licensed gathering site (except down a sewer).

You will need an Environment Agency permit or exemption to spread the milk on your land.

How to use or dispose of milk that has left the farm where it was produced

Once you move milk off the farm of origin, ABP regulations apply. You will need to know which ABP category the milk falls into, before deciding how to use or dispose of it. You will need an Environment Agency permit or exemption.

Find out which ABP category your milk or milk products falls into

Milk or milk products are category 1 ABPs if:

  • you have given banned substances, such as beta-antagonists or thyrostatics, to any of the animals that produced the milk
  • they contain residues of environmental contaminants such as organochlorine compounds including PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl) or organophosphorous compounds

Milk or milk products produced by animals on your farm are category 2 ABPs if:

  • they contain residues of substances that you are allowed to give your animals, but in a concentration that exceeds permitted levels (this would be the case, for example, for milk taken from a cow before the withdrawal period for an antibiotic has elapsed)
  • they originate from live animals, which showed signs of disease that can be passed through milk to humans or animals

The following milk and milk products are category 3 ABPs:

  • raw milk or colostrum from animals that, at the time of milking, didn’t show any sign of a disease communicable to humans or animals through milk
  • milk or milk products left over from the production of products for human consumption, for example centrifuge or separator sludge from a milk processor
  • milk or milk products that are fit for human consumption, but aren’t being sold to humans for reasons that pose no risk to public or animal health (eg commercial reasons)
  • milk or milk products from catering sources (kitchens or canteens in homes, restaurants or other businesses)

How to dispose of milk away from the farm where it was produced

You must dispose of milk according to ABP regulations. Find out how to dispose of different categories of ABP material.

How you can use milk away from the farm where it was produced

Category 3 ABP milk and milk products can be used in farm animal feed unless they are from a catering source (kitchens or canteens in homes, restaurants or other businesses).

Category 2 or 3 ABP milk or milk products can be spread on farm land, but farm animals must be stopped from grazing on the land for 21 days after the milk is applied (ie the grazing ban applies). You will need to keep a written record of the date you applied milk, and the date of any subsequent grazing on that land. You will also need an Environment Agency permit or exemption.

If you spread unprocessed milk from another farm on your land, you should be aware that it can contain organisms that cause infectious diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and Salmonella.

At the moment there are no restrictions on applying milk to your land from herds with TB. The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA] will inform owners of herds affected with TB if any additional measures are required when applying milk from the herds to land.

Published 5 September 2014
Last updated 9 October 2014 + show all updates
  1. AHVLA documents have been re-assigned to the new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
  2. AHVLA documents have been re-assigned to the new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
  3. First published.