The rift between dairy farmers and processors widened last week over demands for a milk regulator.

Calls for a voluntary body, dubbed OfMilk, were made at the Dairy Event by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers.

Dairy UK chairman David Curry said that there could be no return to a managed market. "If such a regulator was acting on a voluntary basis it is difficult to see why the entire industry - including retailers, co-ops and dairy companies - would subscribe."

But RABDF is optimistic that it has sufficient political backing to succeed in its mission this time.

It believes the new All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dairy Farmers will provide the necessary legislative framework.

RABDF chairman Tim Brigstocke said he also wanted a "truly active" National Dairy Body that would involve the whole supply chain and would focus on strategy, export opportunities and market development.