SIR, – As we reach a crossroads in Scottish farming, we all need to look towards making some radical changes.

For our survival we need oxygen, water and food. All of these have been in plentiful supply over the last few decades, but things can quickly change.

Can you imagine hunger in the Western World? It would make Covid-19 look like a storm in a teacup. We need to keep food security at the top of our agenda.

If we are going to plant productive land with trees, then a high percentage should be food producing trees – apples, pears, plums etc and when we get to 20°C on Hogmanay maybe oranges and bananas! Every school in Scotland could have fruit grown locally available throughout the year and they can then visit their local fruit farm to understand how healthy soil leads to healthy fruit and therefore healthy people!

As regards everyone jumping on the carbon bandwagon, we need to get our farming systems right first and that starts with the soil. Once we get our soils fired up, we will have a fertiliser factory beneath our feet.

We need a blueprint for Scottish soils and then the carbon will fall into line – at the moment, we are putting the cart before the horse! Subsidies must be used to get soils right – don't keep feeding us milk, give us a goat!

We must not listen to the chemical salesmen who tell us not to put clover in our grass seed. If you are worried about the odd weed versus tonnes of free nitrogen, then you need to think again.

As a dairy farmer of 35-plus years, I have always tried to improve my margins by looking at my costs and I heard a recent quote from a highly knowledgeable consultant saying that the most profitable dairy farmer he knew didn't feed any concentrates.

If we were all to cut back a bit on our feed and make milk a bit scarcer, you would think that the price would improve? So cut costs to improve price – that might be a good idea? The attitude of two farmers only getting together to 'do' a third one has to change – we need to have joined up thinking.

The health of our soils actually leads eventually to the health of our nation. We owe it to future generations to get this right!

Alan Brown, Millairies, Sorbie, Newton Stewart.