Oak Glen Farm

I was supposed to be taking a break but an after dinner check on my field of oats showed a ‘wonderful’ growth of wild flowers. So it was back out there with the sprayer set to exterminate! Quite why flowers can’t just stick to the hedgerows I don’t know! While doing that task I got to thinking. Sometimes when playing Farming Simulator there comes a tipping point – a moment when you realise it is time to make that purchase that will move your farm on to the next level despite initial misgivings about the cost. Because I’ve been so frugal in the early stages, I have a healthy £366k in the bank. £250k of that is a loan that I currently pay £1400 interest on each day and will need to pay back. With my first field now producing regularly and my basic machinery in place, I had another look at other fields available for me to purchase.

There are lots of fields under crops but they are large and very expensive. In some cases they are being actively farmed by the other farmers – in others the farmers seem to have given up because the crops have been allowed to wither. The number of silage baling jobs suggest that there are too many fields producing grass which impacts the value of the harvest negatively. So, again, I’m looking for a grass field that I can turn to crop production. I had been looking at field 13 which has a track across it to access field 36. Currently under grass, it would make a crop field of similar size to my current field but the track across it is a problem. Next door is field 14. It too has a track across it providing access to field 37 but the size of the field is significantly larger. It costs £175k which will drop us down below the value of the loan but I think it is the right option…

I have decided to buy that field and I’ll explain what my plans are. Here we are standing on the track across the field……with Coberley church on the horizon. Currently the whole field is under grass which is ready to harvest. I’ll mow that, which is why I’ve got the Pottinger’s fitted. That will be a long job and I will probably need to leave the windrowing and baling until the morning. I plan to store those silage bales with the others until prices improve again. Then, I will plough the area to the right of the track, creating a new crop field which should be similar in size to my current field. The rest of the field to the left of the track may stay under grass but I have yet to decide on how I will progress that – it could make a good crop field too. As I noted earlier, there’s currently too much grass being produced in this area at present for us all to make a profit.

With dusk falling I set about the mowing task and soon needed the main lights to see what I was doing……By the time I finished the lights were on at the Manor……and my Wife had fielded a complaint from a new resident to the area about the noise. The neighbouring farmer said he would move his cows into a field behind their house – “That’ll teach them city folks!” 😉

Up with the Lark next morning and back to the field with the windrower……Quickly tidying up as much of the grass as possible into a spiralling piled row for the baler to pick up. Then back to the farm to collect the baler and start creating silage bales. With bales rolling away down the hill I soon realised that I should probably do a small batch at a time then collect them before I lose track of where they went. That tipping point that I spoke about earlier would now require that second tractor!

It had to be a small tractor – the bank balance won’t allow for anything big and powerful. I had already thought very seriously about what the small tractor should be and, after finding the type available on the modhub, I’ve chosen the Massey-Ferguson 3090……There is a personal attachment to this vehicle – my Mother-in-Law had one of these on her farm 🙂 With 115HP it should still be able to handle a range of duties around the farm including the first job I need it to do which is hauling the bales away. Here are my tractors posing together during the grass clearance…

With the field cleared the equipment went back to the farm. The bank balance is somewhat less healthy at £134k and I really need to get that second field on stream asap. My oat crop however looks healthy and I should be able to harvest that later in the day and hopefully get some money back into the account. I now have 40 bales of silage stored in the bunker waiting for the price to go up again – the price at one of the sell points has started moving in the right direction – so there should be some good money coming from those in the future. But it looks like it’ll be sometime before we move into Chickens and Eggs…

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