Ferme du Vieux Chêne

The last week of September was a dead rubber – there were no jobs to do on other farms. I saw Claude in the bistro on the Tuesday and joined him for a chat. As we shared a Kronenbourg, he shared his thoughts on the lack of work. “I think many of the farmers have winter crops in their fields this year, so there’s not much to do for them.” “Harvest season is just around the corner so there may be some work then. And after harvest, there will be fields to prepare for the next crop, so I think October may be a little busier.” He asked about our Chickens. “They’re settling in well and are laying – Mark is spending a lot of time with them.” I grinned. Monsieur Gerard laughed – “Be careful, he will be wanting Sheep next😅”

The predicted increase in work began in the first week of October with a job to plough a field just past Jean’s garage. That was ok pay and although I knew it would take a while to complete, I decided to take it with a loan of equipment. Jean supplied a Deutz-Fahr tractor and a Kverneland plough for the job and I set off for the field. I was surprised to find a standing crop where I was supposed to plough but the farmer had anticipated my hesitation and was there to meet me. “Xavier…” He introduced himself and we shook hands. About the same age as me, he had inherited the farm when his father passed on unexpectedly the previous year. It wasn’t what he had intended to be doing – a degree in architecture and design should have seen him working in the city somewhere with a well paid job. But here he was living with his mother again and trying to keep their heads above water. Lack of time and money had led to this crop failing – no one was around to harvest for him at the time it was ripe. I sympathised and offered our help in the future if needed. He set off back to the farmhouse and I got on with the ploughing…

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By the middle of the 1st week our own crop was poking through, so I hooked up the Isaria crop sensors – they’re supposed to measure the fertilizer needs of the crop from the nitrogen content of the leaves and adjust the spreader to suit…

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…It’s the little white box on the mirror – there’s one on the other mirror too! Over a period of time it should save us money be reducing the amount of fertilizer we use and that’s good for the environment as well. Off we go with the Bredal…

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…and when we finished, our crop should be a lot happier with the optimum amount of fertilizer applied…

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The jobs were coming in quite fast now. I picked up a request to weed a crop. It wasn’t paying very well, but I’ll take whatever money is available at the moment to boost our finances. I thought Jean was joking when he presented me with the tools for the job. No problem with the weeder (That can also sow!) but what was that tractor?! “I’m looking at stocking a new line – Kubota.” he said and added “As you’re one of my best customers at the moment I’d like your opinion on this mini-tractor – you’re going to be my official test driver😅”…

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…It really struggled on the uphill while weeding the field and it was a pain to change gears too. I reported back – “It might be ok for the grass at Lords.” “Lourdes??” said Jean. I realised there was a cultural difference in play – Jean probably knows nothing about Cricket so I changed sport – “The groundsman at Perpignan might like it – but I don’t think hill farming is its forte.” Now Jean understood. “Ok – so better for looking after lawns.” he said.

The next job I took on was to cultivate the large field next to Armand Moteurs. Perhaps wishing to rebuild any lost trust, Jean did me proud with the supplied equipment this time – a huge John Deere 8RX tractor and a Knockerling cultivator…

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…Another ploughing job and a nice New Holland tractor supplied…

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…It was great getting experience on all these tractors because, sooner or later we would need a larger tractor for our farm too. At the start of the 3rd week of October, I got another cultivating job and this time Jean loaned me an older Valtra from his stock…

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…This is actually a nice tractor too 😎

By the last week of October, the Chickens were laying well and Mark hinted that we should be selling some eggs. We discussed how to deliver them and quickly decided that some sort of runabout was needed. And, that’s how we became Jean’s Kubota ‘launch customer’ 😅 We compared spec’s and looked at the options and the Kubota Sidekick looked to tick all the boxes for what we needed. I picked it up on a Friday morning. Loaded up with eggs and drove them over to the farmers market – 400 eggs = nearly €600 👍 Then I enjoyed a thrash along the tracks back to the farm…

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…before parking up…

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…and going indoors for some breakfast 😎👍

Giants Software added a Kubota DLC to Farming Sim 22 at the end of June – I received it as part of the Season 1 Pass. It includes some smaller tractors and telehandler type equipment along with this off-road utility vehicle. It is a good alternative to the John Deere and Mahindra offerings already in the game. If you’re looking for a vehicle of this type, remember to check out the mods for utility vehicles too – There are some other options there like the JCB Workmax.

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