Adverse Weather Guidance: What to do if your milk is uncollected

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In Winter most milk buyers will require their suppliers to ensure access to roads, farmyards and milk collection areas are gritted and free from snow.

The health and safety of yourself and your staff is of paramount importance, do not attempt to clear your road if it is dangerous to do so.

Member Advice:

Please be aware that even if your access road is clear milk collections may not be made due to disruptions in other parts of the collection chain.

Hauliers and tanker drivers have the responsibility to determine whether the farm access road is passable or not. Driver safety assessment of the situation is final

If a farmer considers that the access road may not be passable or may be too dangerous for the haulier, this must be reported to the transport department or haulier as soon as possible.


  • Keep in close contact with your hauliers. The tanker driver or your milk buyer should let you know if they are unable to collect your milk
  • To enable milk buyers and hauliers to get in touch in the event of non-collection ensure they have up to date contact details for the appropriate person
  • Do not dump your milk unless you have had confirmation from your milk buyer or haulier that they will be unable to collect. If the tanker turns up and your milk has been dumped you may be in breach of contract


If you believe that your milk tanker will be unable to reach your farm it is advisable to check whether your insurance covers you in the event of any exceptional inability to collect milk due to bad weather:

  • Check whether you have insurance cover for uncollected milk -  bulk tank cover does not automatically mean you are insured against milk losses in the event of bad weather
  • If you have Business Interruption Insurance with NFU Mutual which includes weather related issues this should cover uncollected milk
  • Check what details are required in your policy to claim against losses e.g. photographic evidence of blocked roads, confirmation from your haulier that they are unable to reach the farm

Milk Disposal

If you have confirmation from your haulier that your milk will not be collected you can dispose of milk by spreading it on your land without stopping animals from grazing on the land (the 21 day grazing ban doesn'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.

A briefing from the Environment Agency about the disposal of milk can be read here.

Do not spread slurry on frozen land as this could lead to increased runoff and a pollution incident. Spreading slurry on frozen land can only occur if the following three criteria have been met:

  • You have had a prior discussion with the Environment Agency.   
  • There are no imported materials taking up storage or being spread,
  • Existing farm storage meets the regulatory minimum and other options such are not available

Last edited on: 31:01:2019

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