As promised, our direct drill seeder arrived at the start of September. Equally, as warned, it looked very big to our untrained eyes. Jean explained the workings and handed over the manual. Driving it back to the farm was a challenge and it was good that Mark was with me to keep an eye on where the rear of the machine was on the road. When we got back we parked it in the shed. The tow bar stuck out but the main part of the machine was sheltered…

20220706205334_1

…We read the instructions again then, next morning, filled it with seed. Then we started sowing Barley…

20220706195516_1

…Taking turns to drill a couple of rows each. It was time consuming and the seeder was very difficult to turn and line up again at the end of each pass…

20220706201658_1

…There was plenty of room at our end of the field but, at the other end, the neighbours field was close to ours and we had to reverse back a bit before commencing the turn so as not to damage their crop. Then it started raining and we took a break for a couple of hours until it cleared. After we’d finished sowing, we put the seeder back in the shed.

Inspection of our field revealed that it was going to need fertilizing soon and that it needed rolling to push the stones back into the ground and compact the soil to reduce erosion…

20220706205354_1

…I took it upon myself to buy a 6m Güttler Matador roller and got on with rolling the field…

20220708173724_1

…Afterwards it became clear that Mark was annoyed. “Couldn’t you just have hired it?” he fumed. Our first disagreement! It took the rest of the day for things to simmer down and a sensible discussion revealed that he was thinking about other possible ways to use our small plot. Honey or Eggs were the options he wanted to look at and we could have used the money I spent on the roller to get started in one of those areas. It was a good idea – There was some land between the trees and the house that couldn’t be put to normal farm use. I agreed we should investigate and ask Claude if there was a market for either product. We also thought about Glasshouses and Tomatoes, but the area looked less suited to that idea. We both agreed on one thing – none of the trees were going to be chopped down!

I spent the end of the first week of September doing a couple of contracts for neighbours. I was able to use our Bredal spreader on a fertilizing job – though there was only a small profit because I loaded up more fertilizer than I needed. It will keep though and we’ll be able to take more jobs like that without buying additional fertilizer. Then I did a cultivating job on a small field down past Armand Moteurs – for that I loaned the equipment and left Jean fretting about how I would get on with the much larger tractor. He needn’t have worried, I brought all the equipment back in one piece. Two contracts done and a small amount of money earned. Let’s hope we can get some more next week…

Neither the roller nor seeder used in this episode are available in the base game – only some much larger versions that are physically unsuited to our field. That’s where mods come in. Both the Güttler Matador pictured above and the seeder were downloaded from the modhub in game. The seeder is a Vaderstad Rapid 300C…

20220706201627_1

…Technically this is the 300S version as I opted not to include fertilization.

In the second post of this story series, Sustainability was mentioned and we decided we wanted to go down that road in our approach to farming. It’s worth taking a quick look at the initial effect of the soil sampling, measured lime application and direct drilling. Here’s our Sustainability score…

20220707094217_1

…There are still areas where we can improve that score – correctly fertilizing our field for example. But already, if you look at the small print below the blue sliders, we will be gaining a 4% improvement on the price when we sell our crops. The story of Ferme du Vieux Chêne will continue soon😎👍