Launching a campaign for dairy farmers to take their case to supermarkets, the National Farmers Union (NFU) said that its members now lose 4p for every litre of milk they sell to supermarkets, because of rising costs.
The NFU said today that it was meeting with the big four British supermarkets, starting with Tesco, to hand over a petition with 5,000 signatures calling for the chains to act.
NFU Dairy Board chairman Gwyn Jones said: 'It is time to enable milk producers to pass on their extra costs -a substantial price increase across the board is desperately needed to stop the dairy industry bleeding to death.'
The campaign kicked off as Asda celebrated two years of its deal to pay dairy farmers 1p a litre more than the normal milk price. It said that it had paid farmers an extra£6 million since the launch of the scheme with supplier Arla.
Sainsbury's also unveiled its own 18-month deal today, with suppliers Robert Wiseman and Dairy Crest, which represent 450 dairy farmers.
Britain's third-biggest supermarket chain said that the move would benefit suppliers because they would be able to use Sainsbury's buying power to lower production costs.