Robert Wilson, Tractorman

22 October 2021

Back in 2009 I left my job at North Lambieletham Farm due to changing farm circumstances and in June that year started my new job of tractor man with stock work and other general farm duties at Balcaskie Estate. 12 years later I now say goodbye and look towards my retirement.

My first job for Balcaskie was at silage, this was fine as it was something I had done before in previous employment and I settled in straight away. I already knew half the workforce as well which helped.

I had previously done most of the tractor work so felt comfortable doing these. The first of the new technology coming in was with the fertiliser spreader that had a small hand held computer attached which utilised GPS for vary rate fertiliser spreading.

In 2015 we introduced autosteer onto the tractors which made life easier, this was a big advantage as we were using bigger machines and it made it more efficient utilising the full width of the machine.

The change to organic farming meant that we became less and less conventional, reducing crop spraying and the amount of fertiliser we were spreading as well as less ploughing as we were now using a direct drill for the crops and discs for the grass. The organic conversion has also meant that as we increased our livestock and put more fields to grass. These then had to be made livestock proofed so although I was spending less time in the tractor I was still kept busy helping the estate maintenance team with fencing in the fields as well as helping with the livestock themselves, especially in winter when I used to drive the bedding machine a lot.

Over the past couple of weeks I have mainly been helping Jim and Poul with the fencing, its been fun as the weather has been ok and when we have had rain spells I have just been doing odd jobs like tidying out the sheds.

I have also been laying in water pipes for water supplies to fields for cattle on Kellie Law, the surrounding fields and North Baldutho. It has been interesting as it’s a new thing we have been doing this year, using a new sub soiler to lay the water pipes that Angus Bowden-Smith has made for us.

In the run up to the Bowhouse Market Weekend I was also helping with set up, using the forklift to help put up new extension cables and helping fill potholes in the car park which has really been the general theme of the past 12 years I have been here with such varying roles.

I have really enjoyed my time at Balcaskie, working alongside a great bunch of co-workers, attending our social gatherings like our cook-offs and Christmas parties.

What I will miss the most is the people and the banter that I have with everyone and the amazing views across the Estate. I will definitely not miss coming to bed the cattle on Christmas morning though!

Looking forward to retirement, I used to golf when I was younger so I would like to polish up my golf skills as well as more curling and longer trips to Madeira. I will also be doing more walking and cycling in the area and if I need any assistance may look into purchasing an electric bike and look forward to getting in the way of the tractors and trailers! I also intend on getting involved with some local voluntary organisations so will be looking to see what there is to get involved with. Finally, depending on how next week goes with my performance in Sunshine on Leith, I may even start up an acting career.


Tractor work is never done


Though it didn’t always go to plan…..

A helping hand with the livestock

Who wouldn’t miss these amazing views


The famous piece box!


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