As March slowly migrates into April and we move into mid-spring, the trees come into leaf on Boundary Farm…

I’ve been working hard on other farms to make money and finance the cost of the equipment I will need on my own farm going forwards. In late March, the first sowing jobs appeared despite the soil temperature remaining lower than ideal. Initially there were potato’s to sow. Despite the huge payouts for doing them, I left those jobs alone as they will take a lot of time to complete. Then the first Wheat sowing job appeared along with one for Oats. To take these jobs I bought a seeder – I’m going to need one myself soon so it seemed an opportune time. I went with the Horsch Pronto 6AS again as it served me well on Oak Glen Farm but this time I’ve bought the associated SW3500 tank to go with it as the size of most of the fields around justify the much larger capacity……and the SW3500 will also work with the Maestro 8RC so I can add one of those seeders later when I’m ready to get into Corn and Sunflowers.

I had been doing a lot of cultivating using the Kuhn subsoiler but its fixed 4m width was making any trip along Duken Lane past the pub very difficult as the road is only barely wider than 4m there. It was also a liability when running on the main road – always having to weave around lamp posts when there was a gap in the oncoming traffic so as to avoid a collision. I’m not going to sell the Subsoiler – it has its place on my farm – but I needed a more transport-friendly piece of equipment for cultivating jobs. Although I went for the Horsch seeder that I know, one thing I’m trying to do on this farm is use different equipment, so I looked at the various cultivators in-game and on the mod-hub. I chose the Vaderstad Carrier 500 Disc Harrow. It folds up nicely for transport between fields and has a working width of 5m. It is also within the power of my current tractor which comes in handy when some of the local fields resemble a ski-jump…

I’ve done more ploughing jobs and some transporting – there’s definitely plenty of variety in the jobs. I often pick a job, hitch up the required equipment and then wind up doing another job requiring the same equipment after the first is completed! And I’m still finding new areas of the map to visit! Back on my own farm in early April, I completed the tidy up by removing some more low growing shrubs and trees to create a bit of open parking space for the equipment. I promised that this time I wouldn’t be doing any wholesale tree clearance and I’ve stuck to that – well almost. While using the Biobeltz stump grinder to remove one set of saplings, a full sized tree just upped and disappeared on me! Not my fault – that’s a map/game issue! Anyway, the good news is that, unlike the real world, you can just stick in a replacement tree – I used one of AlienJim’s season’s ready placeable trees. Here’s the cleared area with the Vaderstad and the MetalTech trailer parked up……and the big Beech behind them is the replacement tree 🙂 I’ve also cleared the shrubs in the area next to the silo, which gives another dumping ground for equipment that doesn’t need sheltering from the weather……and finally, while I have left the Birch beside the barn, I’ve cleared out the low growth next to the field which was restricting movement in front of the lean-to. Then, I planted two full-size trees, another Birch and a Maple……so there’s been a net gain of two grown trees.  And, wood salvaged from the clearance has earned me £3k 🙂

Yesterday, which I estimate to be the 7th of April in-game, I decided to sow my own field with Barley……The soil temperature is still stubbornly sitting on 4 degrees but I’m hoping it will warm over the next couple of days before a spell of rain moves in. Even with the increased capacity of the SW3500, the Horsch still needed refilling to completely sow this field, so I think I will have to add a Partner 1600 tank too (like the one I was using on Oak Glen)! However, the SW3500 did allow me to fertilize at the same time, so that’s the second stage of fertilizing completed. Next up I’m going to have to get a sprayer to deal with the pesky weeds and add in the third stage of fertilizing after the crop starts to grow. So we’ll look at that next time 🙂

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 🙂 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 😉 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 🙂 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…