The Co-operative Group has committed to a fixed date from which it will have a dedicated milk supply group in place.

The Co-operative said this week that it would set up a dedicated group of dairy farmers who will be paid a premium for their milk by August next year. Earlier this year it told the NFU it would look to set up a group but did not commit to a firm date.

The NFU has praised The Co-operative for honouring its commitment. "The news that another major retail customer of British milk is taking greater responsibility for its dairy farmers is very positive," said Mansel Raymond, NFU dairy board chairman.

Currently, The Co-operative sources its milk from a number of processors but doesn't specify ­individual farms or pay a premium.

The group will have up to 360 dairy farmers in it, supplying approximately 360 million litres of milk.