Sir, – I write with regards to the BBC Landward program broadcast on Friday, October 16.

The reporter and interviewees were in conversation about the importance of pollinators to ensure effective production of agricultural crops for food etc, while sitting at the kitchen table consuming a sponge cake with cherries on top.

The emphasis by reporters upon the absolute necessity of having pollinators to ensure successful cereal crops production, is in fact, inaccurate. Commercial crops of wheats, barleys and oats are all self-pollinating species – even oilseed rape is a self-pollinator.

It goes without saying that farmers are huge fans of bees and indeed usually enjoy being a host for anyone looking to keep bee hives for honey production on our farms. We always welcome this industry onto our premises.

We also do fully recognize that many insects – especially bees, do help catalyse pollination and that most crops benefit from their presence. However, where pollinators are at their utmost importance is in the production of fruit crops and and flowers.

This would be the main reason why many fruit growers take in bee hives in order to support and maximize pollination. Therefore, the cherry on top of the cake at the table on Landward is really the only part which required the pollinator!

It is vitally important to also recognize that, for many years, farmers have helped sustain and nurture the populations of bees and other pollinating insects by creating set-aside land banks, planting wildflower areas, all in a bid to give these insects a special home. Bumble bees and wasps mainly nest in the ground, but sadly one of their main predators are badgers.

These ferocious mammals attack and destroy the nests, as indeed they do with ground-nesting birds and also with the poor hedgehog. It is high time that this hierarchical powerful predatory system was examined more closely and that some realism was accepted.

If we are to protect pollinators and some other very special birds and small mammals, then perhaps we should not be protecting the black and white terrorist? I would genuinely wish for government to open its eyes and adopt more pragmatism. We need realisation of these facts, and we would welcome a much more balanced approach to many topics on the environment and land management.

Farmers are custodians of the countryside. Our beautiful Scottish landscape does not happen as if by magic. It is, indeed, the net product of seriously hard graft, sensitive planning and careful management by generations of farmers.

I hope your readers can help farmers to ensure we can continue to maintain this and lobby for a more balanced approach by governments and some media and TV producers.

Patrick Sleigh,

NFU Scotland North-east Environmental and Land Use chairman.

West Fingask,