Tanker training pays dividends

29 May 1998

Tanker training pays dividends

MILK buyers are insisting tanker driver training ensures milk bulk tank cell count readings are correct, despite high counts recorded by one vet when the tank was not agitated for the full two minutes.

Somerset vet Peter Edmondson found, when investigating a high cell count reading from one of two bulk tanks on a farm, that taking a sample before any agitation of milk resulted in a four-fold increase in cell count. The producer had noticed one tanks reading was double the other, despite both containing morning and evening milk.

Taking a number of samples from the top of the tank after no agitation, after 30sec of agitation, and after 2min, showed average cell counts of 486,000/ml, 222,000/ml and 119,000/ml respectively. This confirms that somatic cells concentrate in butterfat and that when samples are taken before milk is agitated, results will be higher than the true level.

Mr Edmonton suggests bulk tanks should be agitated for two minutes, and that tanker drivers are trained to sample properly. It cant do any harm to oversee them sampling your tank, he adds.

Spokespersons for both Milk Marque and Unigate insist that drivers are trained thoroughly.

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