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…

With the Euro Truck Community Event looking like it will start on Thursday (coding permitting) I can put a bit more time into our Farm. I left the last post with a list of decisions that were hanging over my farm at that point and I didn’t even mention Pigs! A couple of mugs of farmer-strength tea and two of the listed options have been taken. I bought a Tedder so I can take on hay making and I bought the other small grass field – no 32 halfway up the valley. I decided that it’s not yet time for Chickens – checking Wheat and Barley prices shows them at a low so I won’t be sowing those as crops in this cycle which in turn means I’d have to buy chicken feed.

I got talking to one of the other farmers at the roadside cafe (translation – watching play-through videos on YouTube) and he suggested that I might find a different seeder better for my situation than the Stara Ceres. After all, I’m harrowing the field and fertilizing it with other equipment anyway so I’m not really using the Ceres’ 3-in-1 capability. A different option would be one of the Horsch, Kuhn or Vaderstad range. I’d get a wider sowing track and an easier vehicle to line up for each pass. I took that idea on-board and that’s yet another decision to be made before choosing our next crop.

After fertilizing my cultivated field with the Amazone spreader, I emptied out some residual seed from the Ceres seeder and took it to the shop to trade in – £33k back as it’s almost brand new (a loss of £6k). I decided to get the Horsch Pronto 6AS and its associated seed tank – total cost £36k. For that I’m getting a 6m sowing width over a 3.6m one and I only need a 60HP tractor to pull it so if I decide to get a second tractor to ease the workload on the Fendt, I can get another small one in the 80-100HP range and those can be relatively cheap. There is a hidden saving too – When I went to sow my field with this new seeder, I didn’t hire a worker so there were no wages to pay 🙂

I’ve decided that Oats will be our next crop and that’s what I’m sowing here with the new Horsch…
…It folds up nicely for transport between fields……and it fits inside our small sheds, which the Ceres didn’t, so I can park it out of the way between jobs 🙂

After sowing my oats – you can read that how you want 😉 I took the mowers up to field 32 and harvested the grass, then baled it for silage. There was one bale less than when I harvested it for a contract – I suspect Mason hadn’t bothered to fertilize after the previous crop. Silage prices have taken a hit because of the amount of contract grass harvest jobs I have been doing so I’ve decided to keep the silage bales until things improve – with no pigs, the bunker silo for manure is a good place to store them…

Then it was time to take the spreader up to our new grass field and fertilize. Back down to the farm after completing that job and I found that my Oats are already showing through so into the main field to fertilize that crop too……Then a trip to the shop to replenish our fertilizer supply. We’re into evening and it’s time to take a break. There’s a big harvest contract available in field 36 so I might take that tomorrow. It should pay very well but it will take a very large chunk out of my day. We’ll see how my crop is looking in the morning…

Working through the second day on the farm and doing more mowing and baling for other farmers. The equipment is getting grubby and will need a service by the end of the day…

While I’ve been working the crop has been through its flowering cycle and has set seed. By midday it is ready to harvest! The speed that crops grow and ripen in Farming Sim requires the player to suspend belief but if they reached ready to harvest state in normal time it would be a pretty boring game. Frankly, the game is mainly about playing with farm equipment and the plants and animals are really only there to provide a reason to do so 😉 And, the crop being ready to harvest means it’s time to buy myself a Harvester. The vehicle will again be small and I’m keeping a tight grip on the budget. Much as I would like to buy the Claas Tucano again (see the first post in the original series) I can’t justify the cost. John Deere were also over the budget I was prepared to pay. I narrowed it down to three possibilities – two are vehicles from the modhub and one was a bonus addition to the game with the Claas Platinum Pack.

The Case IH 1660 Axial Flow which has a 5.5m header and 190HP engine. Here’s a screenshot from the modhub site……Cost: £177k

The Claas Dominator 108 SL Maxi which has a 5.1m header and 221HP engine. A shot from the shop……Cost £165.5k

The New Holland TC5.90 which has a 5.5m header and a 258HP engine. This was the most expensive at £185k for Harvester and Head. When I factored in the higher horse power which was desirable for working some of the fields in the valley, I felt that the TC5.90 was worth the slightly higher price over the other harvesters. Here it is parked outside the dealer…

After taking the harvester to the field, it was time to get my trailer, reinstall the sides and take that to the field also. Then we got down to harvesting our Canola crop…

Best price for Canola was being offered at the Hill Top Stores. Another reason for only using a small trailer with my 150HP Fendt – it’s a tough climb to get up there……and deliver the seed to their silo……But the 12000l brought a nice income of £13553. There was a further 1250l which I took back to our own silo for storage.

Harvesting done it’s time to take the TC5.90 home to the farm – it’s a tight fit through the gate of the field with the header fitted…

And so, the cycle begins again. The field doesn’t need ploughing or lime but I need to turn in the chaff and Canola stalks so it’s off to work with the disc harrow…

We have £412k in the bank and I can probably think about starting to pay back the £250k loan. But I would like a Tedder to allow me to make hay from grass. I probably need to buy another field either for grass or for other cash crops. Then there are the Chickens – can I start rearing them yet? While the crop cycle may happen at an unholy gallop, the game certainly gives you lots of decisions to make! Finally, I have to decide what crop to sow in my freshly cultivated field – We’ll find out about some of these things in my next post. Plough on regardless Folks 🙂