Abstract Load behaviour in a dry pilot mill has been successfully measured as a function of mill speed and load filling using an inductive proximity probe. The inductive proximity probe detects the presence of metallic objects in the proximity of its sensing face. Static and dynamic test demonstrate that it is suitable in measuring load behaviour. The shoulder position is measured more reliably by the inductive proximity probe due to this region being well behaved and less variable as compared to the toe region. The shoulder and toe angular positions of the inductive proximity probe signal vary with mill speed and load filling. Cataracting of balls onto the mill shell at high mill speeds is detected. The probe is sensitive to changes in mill operating conditions and load packing. A comparison between the force probe and the inductive proximity probe reveals that the inductive proximity probe is more superior in measuring load behaviour.