Poul Thomassen, Farm and Estate Maintenance

13 May 2022

Unlike most people in agriculture, I wasn’t born and raised on the farm or in the countryside. Some of my Mums side of the family have/had farms but I didn’t get to spend a lot of time on them when I was growing up. I was born in Kirkcaldy and spent most of my young life living in towns and only visited the countryside when visiting family up north or with my Granny. I loved it.

During school, I discovered my huge passion for heavy metal and playing the drums. I played in a few bands growing up and got to play some amazing shows with some great people who are now life-long friends.

I met my now wife, Shannen at Waid academy in 2010. We got married in 2018 and had our daughter Isla in March 2020 3 days into the first lockdown. First time parents when nobody could come and give you a hand wasn’t exactly how I imagined it… character building is one way to look at it.

I’ve always loved working with my hands, being outside and big machinery. I used to build garden sheds, summer houses and log cabins in my previous job but unfortunately there was no progression and I didn’t feel appreciated. Luckily, Shannens Dad worked on a well known estate where they were looking for someone to join their team. Shannens Dad is Andy, the tractorman on Balcaskie. Handy that. I put my name forward for the job expecting to hear nothing back or just a NO! as I had no experience working with tractors or any other machinery. But luckily for me, I was given the chance to prove that I was willing to learn these new skills and was taken on.

Its hard to describe exactly what I do as there is so much different roles to play on such a large estate that has so many enterprises. I would say my main job over the last few years is fencing which I absolutely love! The fencing is overseen by myself and Jim who I enjoy working with. We make a great team and I feel we do a fantastic job. Most days I’m also accompanied by my four-legged assistant, Odin. He loves being out with Jim and I all day wanting chased from the Can-Am or the tractor. I’ve clocked him at 32mph. He shows some interest in sheep as his parents were workers. He doesn’t have a clue though, but he makes a fantastic companion.

Over the last few years we have fenced around 70,000 metres using this new type of metal fence called Clipex. This system is far quicker to put up and takes less than 25% of the time a traditional wooden fence would take to put up. And so far, they hold up just as good as the old style of fencing. The end strainer posts are put in the ground using a tractor mounted post chapper. The hammer weight weighs 340kg so its always a good idea to keep the fingers out the way! The intermediate posts are all put in by hand using a handheld petrol chapper which only weighs 22kg, but after lifting it up and down hundreds of times in one day, its pretty heavy going.

During the winter months I have to fill up the estate’s 2 biomass hoppers which heat up all of the houses and units at Comielaw farm and the houses on the estate. Big responsibility making sure that nobody has cold feet at night. During the winter time I will usually fill the hoppers up every 10-14 days depending on how cold its been. Nowadays in the warmer climate, its slightly less.

I have also recently been rolling fields that Andy has sown with wheat and beans. I enjoy watching how the land changes over the weeks as the crops start to appear out the ground. I get to watch it right outside my living room window. What a place to live and work.

Looking onwards, I am looking forward to the Fife Show on the 21st. Silage season will start next month, hopefully this year I wont be rolling the pit and I’ll get to properly utilise my new tractor in the fields! I’m also really looking forward to the better weather so I can spend time with my daughter on some bike rides and day trips. And the odd trip to my favourite local brewery Ovenstone 109. Roll on summer time!


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