Here we are at the end of a long day’s work……Cultivating another farmer’s field to make a bit of money on the side. I now have a fuller understanding of how the Seasons mod works, at least in terms of basic arable farming. If you use the default settings of nine days per season, each in-game day (real world time) equates to around 10 farming days. You can do a lot in that time! Let me take you through some of what I have doing in my first farming day on the Six Ashes map.

I set out to completely prepare my field for sowing, including the first stage of fertilizing. I think now that that I could have spread the work out rather than doing it all in one game day – fertilizing could have waited until the next week – ie next irl game day or even the one after! The upshot is that I am ready to sow but soil temperatures are too low for reliable germination of the seeds. I also bought more fertilizer than I needed (I filled up the spreader!) – so I’ve got around 5000l sitting around. That’s not a disaster – I’m just waiting for a fertilizing job on a neighbouring farm. But in the first week of March all the jobs are plowing or cultivating……With an occasional transport job thrown in. Doing plowing for other farmers allows me to try out some of the larger equipment like this Lemken Titan 18……It is a pig to line up for each cut because the tow bar is on a swivel and I think that the time lost positioning it outweighs any gain from a slightly wider cut. That all the jobs reflect the time of year is a good thing – it brings realism. I’m expecting jobs to sow or plant as the weather turns warmer and, when autumn comes, harvesting jobs. In between I’m sure there will be weeding and fertilizing to be done. In fact, I’ve already got my first patches of weeds……They popped up while I was doing my lime spreading! A look at the map shows them dotted around in every crop field…

I have mentioned soil temperatures being too low – Seasons brings much more realistic weather and crop growth. If you glance back to the shot of the weeds in my limed field you can see a number of icons at the top of the screen. The second from the left shows the air temperature and, below that, the ground temperature. I can open up the seasons menu of sowing and harvesting periods, and check what temperatures are needed for each crop to germinate……and I can get a weather forecast that lets me know what the weather over the next few days is likely to be……looks like it’s going to get colder and we may have rain on Wednesday! I may be able to sow on Thursday but Sunday is currently looking better šŸ™‚ In Seasons time those days equate to early-April and early-May. I’d probably prefer to get my crop in the ground in April if possible. Like the real world, the weather forecast may not be totally accurate – it might be possible to sow on Friday despite rain being forecast (which would be mid-April). Then, once the crop is in the ground I’ll be checking how well it can handle what the weather is throwing at it. There’s a chart for that too……I’ll let you read that one for yourselves!

As you can see, Seasons brings a lot more to the game than bare trees šŸ˜‰ There’s a lot more thought and planning required – all of which may come to nought if there’s a bad drought over summer or if it rains and prevents harvesting the crop before it withers. Much more realistic šŸ™‚ There’s more I could tell you about but this post is already long so it will wait for another day. To close I’ll share a shot with you of how our previous farm, Oak Glen, would have looked in early spring…

I set the scene with a story and I was going to continue the tale. I prepared lots of screenshots to illustrate it too. Then I made the decision to install a mod called Seasons…

I should have done this a while back but I was busy playing through my Oak Glen Farm series and enjoying myself. I should really have done it before starting on a new map. But I didn’t and hindsight is a wonderful thing! I tried Seasons out in a different save slot and the effect of seeing the farm in the early spring was mesmerising – to see the land laid bare at the end of winter’s chill. I think that sold me on the idea. But Seasons also drags the game into a much more realistic state, taking control of the growth cycle and much more to bring an experience for the player that is much closer to the trials of real world farming. At least that’s what it says on the tin šŸ™‚ I shall be finding out on Boundary Farm.

When you start a new map save with Seasons enabled you are presented with the bare landscape of early March. There are no crops in any of the fields with the exception of a few that have withered – everything else has been harvested. It’s a time to start preparing your fields for sowing. If you read my original description of the start point on the Six Ashes map and GBModding’s challenge you’ll know that there was equipment to be sold and a crop to harvest. With Seasons installed the equipment is still there but your crop is now a field of stubble. That changes the priorities – Starting out this time I won’t be needing a harvester immediately and there we hit the ‘Continuity error’ for my story as initially told in my last post. With money tight, I’m not about to spend on an item I don’t yet need when my priority will be getting the equipment I need to sow the next crop. So you can forget about the TX32 harvester – it didn’t happen šŸ˜‰

Lets take a look at the farmyard and buildings with Seasons installed……you can still see the junk and the old equipment in these shots and get a clear impression of the state of the yard at the start of the game. It’s fair to say it’s a mess!

As in my story post, I got the junk cleared and sold all the equipment with the exception of the Strautmann trailer and the Kuhn Subsoiler – the latter now having an immediate use! As before I bought the New Holland T6.155. Instead of buying a harvester and, as a direct result of the short period of gameplay experience I now have on this map, I prioritised clearing the area of the farmyard – removing the bushes and cutting back some of the trees. For that task I needed a Chainsaw and a Flail Mower. Here’s the Ino 270 Elite attached to the tractor ready to remove those bushes……and here we are at work – the yard is looking clearer already!..…Then it was time to hack at the trees with the Chainsaw before deploying a stump-grinder – the Biobeltz UM300……to remove any last vestiges of wood. I bought both items rather than hiring as I will probably need to do some more clearing in future.

Unlike Spinney Field in Oak Glen Farm, this wasn’t a mass hack down of the trees – just removal of the low growth that was getting in the way of moving equipment around the yard. I loaded the wood into the Strautmann……and took it to the Sawmill……Where I was pleasantly surprised by a Ā£2700 payout – that’s covered the cost of the stump-grinder! That trailer is filthy – so on the way back I bought a washer to keep the equipment clean.

Where does that leave my story? I think it will have to be untold (unless little bits creep in here and there). The Six Ashes map has only been out for 12 days. This is my first time playing FS19 with Seasons installed. Who knows what little bugs / problems I may experience? I think there may be too many variables to allow me to tell a convincing tale. So I’ll be more in the play-through mode as I continue on Boundary Farm – Sorry to those readers who like a story. Now I’d better get on with preparing my field šŸ™‚

Plans are always likely to become victims of events. At least in Farming Simulator 19 it’s more driven by realisation of a potential opportunity than by circumstances beyond your control. That said, if it wasn’t for taking the decision to go for Pigs on the farm early, I wouldn’t have pushed myself into the current situation. When I last posted I’d just got the pigs and I was planning to diversify into Sugar Beet as a crop. For that I knew I’d need to spend around Ā£120k to buy the necessary harvesting equipment but I recognised it as a necessity if I was going to get the best out of our porky friends. I’d taken the decision that Alehouse Field was best suited to handle this crop as I would have to plough every time I grew Beet or Corn.

I quickly built up a good amount of money with some successful harvests so that I could afford to get the tractor driven root-crop harvester, the Grimme Rootster and its associated top removal tool. It’s a bit of a beast……and I’ve had to shuffle some other equipment around to house it! I bought it because I had the money available. That was a little early and may have been an error – after all, I still had a crop of Canola in the intended field to fertilize and eventually harvest. I found myself with only Ā£30k in the bank and a lot of essential things to do before my next crop income would be available.

As you would expect, I struggled through the bad times, got some harvests done and sold things like eggs to get the balance back on an upward trajectory. This time, silage wasn’t coming to my aid šŸ˜¦ But I did some delivery work……and also a harvest for another farmer…

Then it was back to my own fields. I hit some problems harvesting the Canola in Alehouse Field – the harvester cut out on me on several occasions resulting in a small amount of crop loss. The cause of this appears to be the sharp gradient changes at the edge of the field. Also, in this field that I created myself from one of the grass fields, I have noticed some invisible artifacts that may be coming into play now – they are hidden but when I was looking at possibly placing a sheep pen in this field I found some places where I couldn’t put it because of existing ‘structures’. You can see a number of unusual dips in the field too……roughly where those structures appear to be. Perhaps we need an archaeoligical dig to ascertain whether I’ve found a Roman Villa? šŸ˜‰ Anyway, to combat some of the issues when harvesting I’ve chosen to leave some of the more troubled areas un-cultivated……so the yield from Alehouse field will be slightly reduced in future. I’ve now sown it with Sugar Beet.

The voracious appetite of the pigs (I have 12 of them now!) has raised the question of how I’m going to make a money from crops when they are consuming quite a high percentage of anything I grow other than Oats and Grass. I think that the time is upon us to buy another, larger field. The only problem with that is the cost. Almost all of the fields that are under cultivation at my end of the map cost in excess of Ā£300k. While I was harvesting the crop in field 27 I took a look at field 47 opposite. You can see both on the right of the map……Field 47 is probably a third bigger than my current largest. It’s the only field at a reasonable distance from my farm that costs under Ā£200k – but only just under šŸ˜¦ It has a mound with trees which will make it a little tricky to farm……quite possibly a tumulus or barrow, so I won’t be disturbing that! I think that is our only viable option currently but I will need to earn well from some crops to be able to afford it. Oh for another Silage price rise!

Those who looked closely at the green areas of the map will have noted that I appear to own the large field to the north of Field 47 – it was part of the ‘spare’ land that you can buy for Ā£0 and which I bought to allow me to expand Field 4 into what I now call Spinney Field. Why don’t I use that? Firstly, there’s no direct access without driving across other fields. There is a hedge all around the field with the exception of a gate at the boundary with Field 31……It doesn’t open! The implication is that the map designer does not wish us to use that field and I’m going to abide by their wishes.

That’s brought you up to date. Now I’d better get back in the tractor and do some work – that field isn’t going to buy itself!