The NFU and the National Federation of Women's Institutes have kicked off their new joint campaign for higher milk prices with the launch of Mission Milk, a public debate between dairy farmers, retailers, processors and MPs about sustainable relationships in the milk supply chain.

Retailers and processors were engaged in a "battle" over supply and promotions, and refused to acknowledge the impact they had on farmers, said NFU president Peter Kendall. "But when branded products are available in the supermarkets at 'buy one, get two free', it's a sign that the balance is all wrong."

Although dedicated liquid milk supply groups had been a positive step towards more stable relationships between farmers and retailers, there was now a "growing and worrying split" in the price paid to those farmers in dedicated supply groups and to those who are not, he added.