MPs have called for legislation to ensure dairy farmers get a fair deal for their milk.

Anne McIntosh – who chairs the environment, food & rural affairs select committee – blasted the government for its failure to secure a voluntary code of conduct for milk contracts.

“For the past 14 months the government has been saying a voluntary code is the best way forward for the dairy industry,” she said.

“But it has yet to secure an agreement on its content. Last week our committee heard first-hand how time is running out for many dairy farmers. We urge the government to secure the voluntary code as a matter of priority. If it cannot, then legislation must be considered.”

The call for legislation came ahead of a crunch meeting on milk prices, chaired by farming minister Jim Paice, at the Royal Welsh Show today.

Over the weekend, Morrisons and The Co-operative Group both announced hikes to the price they pay farmers for milk.

Morrisons said it would add 5ppl to its farmgate price, while The Co-op guaranteed its farmers would receive 29p per litre for their milk.

“We recognise the exceptional pressure on farmers and continue to aim to support all farmers, not just those that have dedicated contracts,” said Morrisons group commercial director Richard Hodgson.

“The recent announcements by our processors will reduce the payment to farmers for the milk we sell, and therefore we are announcing payments that negate their impact.”

Farmers continued protests over the weekend, with Farmers for Action targeting processing plants at Bridgewater, Market Drayton and Droitwich.