University of KentuckyCollege of Agriculture
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Milk Tank Calibrations


Kentucky Dairy Producer and Industry Rep Survey

Milk Transport Security Project

Bulk Milk Tank Calibrations

  It is recommended that farm bulk tanks be
  recalibrated every five years or when a
  noticeable change occurs with the tank.
When we consider the farm bulk milk tank for measurement purposes, we are actually taking into account the tank itself and all of its required accessories such as leveling indicators, the measuring gauge (stick or tube) and the accompanying conversion chart. Tanks, gauge rods and charts will be identified with a serial number. The serial number of each accessory should correspond to the tank. Farm bulk tanks are required to be accurately calibrated upon installation. When accurately calibrated, the tank functions appropriately with these accessories to allow the user to obtain an accurate weight for milk stored within the tank.

Unfortunately, over time a number of factors may detrimentally impact the tank and accessories. The milkhouse floor may shift due to heaving or other factors, structural weaknesses may change the physical condition of the tank, tank legs may become weak or the tank may have been moved by the producer. Any of these factors may result in an unlevel tank. Additionally, gauge sticks may become bent or twisted, site tubes and gauges may become damaged and charts may become worn, faded and difficult to read.

Because of these factors, it is recommended that farm tank calibrations be examined periodically (at least every five years) or when a noticeable change has occurred with the tank and/or accessories. Tank calibrations are often conducted by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Milk Market Administrator and by some milk marketing agencies. Each of these groups follows official protocols for tank calibrations and can legitimately calibrate farm tanks. However, it is important to note that in Kentucky, official oversight of all measuring devices, including milk tanks, rests with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s  Division of Regulation and Inspection..

Having a bulk milk tank evaluated for an accurate calibration is the appropriate means for ensuring:

  1. The producer is paid accurately for milk shipped,
  2. The hauler can accurately perform measuring and weighing procedures on the farm and
  3. The plant is accurately invoiced for milk delivered to the plant.

Regulatory Services staff regularly cooperates with the KDA, USDA and milk marketing agencies in an effort to address farm tank calibration concerns. If you would like to request a farm tank calibration in Kentucky, we suggest you work with your dairy field representative to schedule a calibration. Alternatively, you may contact our office and we will put you in contact with the appropriate officials.

When making a request to have a tank calibrated, please be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Producer’s name, address and phone number;
  • Identification of the milk buyer and the field representative's name and phone number;
  • Hauling company name and phone number;
  • Bulk-milk pickup schedule for the producer;
  • Length of time the tank is typically empty;
  • Whether or not a new chart needs to be constructed;
  • Any other information concerning the tank’s construction, adjustment, or situation that might be helpful.
Tank Conversion Chart Printing

What if my farm bulk tank calibration is acceptable, but my tank conversion chart is worn and difficult to read?

  If your farm tank conversion chart has
  become worn and difficult to read,
  Regulatory Services can “build”
  you a new chart.

It is not uncommon for bulk tank conversion charts to become deteriorated or difficult to read. Dairy producers who do not necessarily need to have a farm tank calibrated but who would like to have a new tank conversion chart printed, should contact Regulatory Services. For these requests, complete the top portion of the Farm Bulk Milk Tank Chart Reproduction Form, make a copy of the current conversion chart, and submit both to our office. We will complete the bottom portion of this form and construct a new chart.

NOTE: This is a free service for Kentucky producers. If you are an out of state producer and we can reproduce your bulk tank chart, there will be a $25.00 fee for this service.

We will provide a laminated chart and one additional chart copy to the producer. Copies of the chart will also be provided to the milk buyer and hauling company. Producers who need charts reproduced should contact Regulatory Services’ Milk Program by e-mail or at (859) 257-2785.

Alan Harrison, Milk Program Coordinator
Division of Regulatory Services
College of Agriculture, Food and Environment
103 Regulatory Services Building
Lexington, KY 40546-0275

September 2015