Ferme du Vieux Chêne

Once more I find myself posting about my FS22 experience a bit earlier than I had planned. A new update was released yesterday by Giants and brought with it ‘Precision Farming’. Although precision farming was introduced in FS19, I never really got to try it because I was using mod maps and didn’t want to corrupt them. I guess we’d better start by explaining what precision farming is – here’s a video from Giants

Now I’m guessing that has left you with more questions than answers – it has me! 🙄 The news post gives more info and there are new help pages in the game. I will be able to farm ok with precision farming installed and activated, but initially I will not be able to get my sustainability score up to high levels. I’ll try to explain why as we go along.

Conveniently, I have only just harvested field 17, so I will be able to begin using the new methods straight away. The first step is to get the soil sampled. You can do this either by purchasing a soil map or by sampling the field yourself and sending the samples away for testing. Buying a soil-map is cheapest in the short term because the Isaria soil sampler costs €17K, but I noted that on the soil information pages about ph and nitrogen levels there is an Outdated Data possibility – that suggests that you will need to resample the field from time to time in order to maintain data integrity (don’t you just love having to second guess?). I decided to buy the soil sampler and the daytime crop sensors that fit to the mirrors. I guess buying another field will have to wait a while🙄 Here I am taking samples on field 17…


…It took just 4 samples to map the entire field and this is the map I got back…


…Using the table on the right you can see that this is a nice field consisting almost entirely of Loam soil – just a bit of silty-clay along the southern side. Loam is the best soil for reducing your use of seed as shown in this table courtesy of Giants Software…

Crop to Soil Table

The environmental score for the field has gone up too – from 50 to 57. I can now see the PH and Nitrogen levels of the soil too. The PH is pretty good…


…but the Nitrogen level is bad…


…That’s understandable as we’ve just harvested a crop from that field and all the fertilizer will have been consumed. Here’s what the figures look like on the ground – see the infobox on the bottom right…


At this point, if I owned cows or pigs I could lay down some slurry on the field to bring that level up a bit. It would reduce the amount of chemical applications later in the crop cycle but it’s not an option for me. I can improve the PH level though by adding some lime. This is my next change from the old game-play. Normally the game prompts you to lime every 3 years and you just do a blanket spread across the field. I’ve fitted the Isaria Crop Sensors to my Massey 5S…


…and they should adjust the rate of lime distribution to the amount needed for the correct PH level. So, now I’ll be liming as and when I need to bring the level back up rather than once every 3 years. They seem to work well.

At this point I need to talk about changes to plans. Before Precision Farming was released I had been thinking of letting field 17 lie fallow until next spring and possibly grow a Potato crop. That plan has changed now. I think instead that I will plant Canola in this field so that I can get on with testing working with Precision Farming. So the next stage was to continue preparing the field by cultivating it…


Cultivating and ploughing are not a good thing in the Precision Farming mantra – both of them bring up weed seeds from deep in the soil allowing them to germinate and thus requiring more use of herbicide. Additionally, ploughing is hard work for the tractor and burns a lot of fuel. The preferred approach is abandon the plough and use a direct drill seeder, thus cutting out costly processes and reducing the use of herbicide. I don’t know about the weeds, but I’ve brought up another load of rocks that I’ll have to remove🤣 If we take another look at the soil map screen you can see that my field PH is now almost uniformly 6.750 but in the Environmental Score box, on the left of centre, we’ve dropped back to a score of 51 because of our use of the cultivator…


…If you look closely, in that same box, it says that the environmental score does not affect sell prices. It remains to be seen whether it affects my yield though!

I haven’t soil tested field 14 yet – I’m not going to disturb a Sorghum crop that is nearly ready to harvest. We can take a quick look from the side though…


…This field has been farmed under the old methods so I think the yield percentage appears a bit lower as a result. When the crop is harvested next month I’ll be able to get the sampling done and move forwards. I’m planning to sow Barley in this field next.

Precision farming may mean change on my farm – old implements may be sold and direct drill seeding become the norm. But this is a working farm and money doesn’t grow on trees – the process of change will be slow. I’m guessing that mirrors the real world!

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