Mid-winter, January and the days are very short. I’ve been filling in with work on neighbouring farms which has given the opportunity to try out some larger vehicles for cultivating jobs. This John Deere 8RX giving the chance to try an all-tracked vehicle…

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And this Deutz-Fahr 8280 finished in a special edition black livery…

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I’ve also started work on my new field – using the cultivator to mow down the weeds and prepare the soil…

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…and subsequently applying Lime.

With only cultivation jobs on offer, I started to get itchy feet (or fingers in the case of a computer game). I added a new building to my farm and then I went to the farm shop to buy some essentials…

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…I think that gives the game away as to what my new addiction is 🤣 Here’s the new Chicken Barn next morning…

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…which I have stocked with Chickens…

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I had always intended to start Egg production at some stage, and I guess now is as good a time as any 👍

Now for the disappointing news… While playing the game on Monday evening the pc decided to have a fit and crashed the game – I believe this was due to the ongoing issue with the memory leak in Windows that I have been living with. Today, I have been unable to start the game and I am currently trying a number of ideas to rectify the situation. Unfortunately, even if I do get the game working, the Ferme du Vieux Chêne game save will almost certainly be gone. Then I’ll have to make a decision whether to restart on the same game map or to use one of the other maps instead. Ultimately, I will be having to buy a new pc soon anyway, which will probably mean restarting all my saves in all my games.

When I last reported from the farm it was the first week of October and I laid out my future plans. At the time I had €60K in the bank and I needed to push that up to €160K before making my move to purchase Field 23. So here we are in the first week of December and I’m cultivating a neighbours’ field…

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If you look in the top rh corner you can see that I have almost reached my target! How have I done that in just 2 months? Have I, perhaps, been hunting for collectables again to boost my cash?

No, this time I haven’t resorted to an official cheat – It has all been achieved by genuine work and a little RNG luck. I continued my start to October with some fertilizing. Then I picked up a Corn harvesting job in Field 15, right next to my farm. As I don’t have a corn header myself, I borrowed the equipment to do the job. I had the pleasure of trying out the Case Axial Flow 7150…

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…This is a wonderful piece of kit. Here’s a view from above as it chomps the corn…

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…and from the side…

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…For a big machine, it feels very compact. I liked it so much I’ve added it to my wish-list although I’d need around €400K to buy and equip it🤨 The job surprisingly gave me a big cash bonus for the delivered corn and additionally completed while I still had nearly 5000l in the harvester’s tank – that went straight to my Silo as a very welcome bonus for a job well done! 😎👍

My next large job saw me doing a Star Wars impression…

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…It’s actually a Hardi self-propelled Sprayer and I was hunting weeds in the second largest field on the map with hired equipment. I made a lot of money on that job. And that’s where the RNG comes in. If you’re lucky, the jobs just fall for you, and you can make a fortune very quickly 😎

Mid October and I was doing harvesting for another farm and when rain stopped that activity, I did some fertilizing for a different neighbour – the money was starting to rack up. The pattern continued through late October and early November. Then I hit the RNG jackpot – Fertilizing jobs for the two largest fields on the map. Even after buying the fertilizer to fill my spreader, I was guaranteed a payout of around €25K! I was able to knock those jobs out by midday (roughly equivalent to 5 day’s work). Then I picked up a Cotton harvesting job using hired equipment, I had the pleasure of this rather nice John Deere CP690 to do the picking…

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…A beautiful piece of kit and it needs to be at around €850K! For such a large machine it is amazingly agile – it can turn within its own body length! The cotton bales are deposited wrapped and ready. I subsequently had one of the Case cotton harvesters for another job and didn’t like it. Ultimately it just compresses the cotton into a large block, but at half the price of the JD, I guess that’s what you get. At the end of the harvest job, I delivered one of those large blocks to the spinnery and it should have closed off the job and given me a percentage of the bale as part of my payment. The bale is still sitting there…

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…and I’m accruing €1 every minute as the bale gradually is taken in 1l at a time by the spinnery. There’s around 17000 litres to go – I think that’s a Bug! 🤣

Back to where we came in… I now have my target money to buy Field 23 and I’m going to do just that. I shall see you all back on Ferme du Vieux Chêne very soon 😎👍

While it was raining in late September, I did get some work done – cultivating a neighbour’s field. Then the rains stopped, and I was able to close out the last few days of September by helping another neighbour with his Sorghum harvest.

The first week of October and a bright sunny start to the month. My Barley crop in field 14 was growing nicely and I decided it was time to fertilize…

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Under the Precision Farming approach, you only apply the amount of fertilizer needed to get the maximum possible crop yield from the underlying soil. Field 14 being split between loam and silty clay allows me to show this. Here’s the loam side of the field…

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…If you look at the box on the lower right, you can see that I have applied 180kg of fertilizer per hectare. The expected crop yield is 125% and matches the potential yield. On the other side of the field I have applied less fertilizer…

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…120kg per hectare. The poorer quality soil will only allow a potential yield of 89% and by applying that level of fertilizer I have maximised the potential. Come harvest time, the other half of the field should be giving me 8.2 tonnes per hectare while this side will only give 5.9.

I am left with a question though. Back in the old system of working before the introduction of Precision Farming, we needed to apply two lots of fertilizer separated by different growth stages of the crop. Reading between the lines of what I see at this moment of time on my fields, I will not have to make a second application of fertilizer. I think I will be checking regularly to see if the fertilizing status changes over the growth cycle 🤨

While it was raining back in September, rather than spend all my ‘free time’ playing console games in the garage, I did some forward planning. Here’s the future I have mapped out for the farm.

1, Purchase field 23 – I need to maximise work for neighbours over the autumn and early winter to get the money I need. I currently have €60K in the bank. I will probably need to raise another €100K before I make my move for that field so that I have a working balance after the purchase.

2, Replace the Massey Ferguson 6716S…

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…At the start of the game this tractor had to do all the work and it’s very rundown now. With the small Massey picking up the lighter work I should be looking to get a new large tractor for the heavy jobs like cultivating and ploughing. Not sure which tractor make yet but I’m probably looking for one that has over 270HP.

3, Replace the New Holland TX-32…

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…Bought as a stopgap to harvest my first crop, the TX32 has allowed me to take some harvesting jobs for the neighbours too. However, it is slow and has a very narrow cutter head. Additionally, it also has a small grain tank meaning I have to empty into a trailer more often than I would wish. It is also very long compared with more modern designs, so manoeuvring can be a pain. I think I will probably buy another New Holland, but the Claas Tucano is also a possibility.

4, Buy a Planter – I need one of these to be able to sow Sunflowers, Corn and Soya Beans.

5, Replace my current Seeder with a direct-drill type so that I can move to minimal tillage and improve my environmental score.

6, Buy a Stone-Picker – to reduce damage to my other implements.

That’s quite a list and will need a lot of money so don’t expect these changes to happen overnight – it could almost be called a ‘Five-Year Plan’ although I hope it will take less time than that. There is no priority order on most of those purchases though buying Field 23 will come first. Of course, I may never get to complete the planned purchases on Ferme du Vieux Chêne – as anyone who read my posts from Farming Simulator 19 will know, I would really like to be farming on a more realistic and ‘English’ map. I’m just working the Haut-Beyleron map and gaining an understanding of the game while I wait for a suitable mod-map to come along 👍

Time to get back in the tractor. More from Ferme du Vieux Chêne soon 😎