You’re probably thinking ‘Hang on! I thought we were working Boundary Farm?’ We are but much of what I’m doing there is repetitive work mainly for other farmers so I thought I’ll give you an update a little later in the week. Instead I thought a post about starting on West Newton Farm……in Ayrshire might bring some variety.

If you recall back to my post where I gave my reasons for selecting the Six Ashes map for a play through, I explained that the provision of lots of equipment at the main farm on the West Newton map hints heavily that the player should be opting to work there. It is a dairy farm and that means buying cows, which I’m not entirely ready for! However, I think perhaps I can slowly learn on the job 😉 The farm comes with 3 grass fields… and will leave you with £104k in the bank when you buy it. However you won’t need to buy a lot of equipment to start with as most of the things you need are there. For example, there’s a header for a harvester hiding in the workshop……There’s grass mowing and baling equipment along with a Valtra A series tractor in the big barn……along with a Joskin Betimax animal trailer and some seeds, fertilizer and herbicide……there’s also a selection of lifter tools like pallet forks, etc, out back.

In the small barn there’s a New Holland TX32 to go with the header in the workshop, along with seeding equipment and a crop sprayer……There’s a water tanker standing outside……opposite the cowshed in which you find a New Holland T6.175 and a Kuhn Knight RA 142 auger wagon for mixing and delivering cattle feed……I’ll need to read up about how to use that! Finally, parked outside the farmhouse is a pick-up…

There are some surprising omissions. There’s no Tedder for drying Grass to make Hay. There’s no weight for the tractors to prevent them being tipped by heavy loads or equipment. With seeding equipment you’d expect a plough and a means of cultivating but neither are present. And finally, there’s no trailer for either moving things around or taking grain from a harvest to a sell-point. So there are some things you will probably need to buy as you progress. In fact I went off straight away to get a weight from the dealer in the Valtra. Gonna need that if I’m going to move the herbicide and such around!

The other odd thing is the positioning of some of the equipment/vehicles. When I got back I had decided that my first prioity was to repair the main tractor and the harvester, then relocate things in a manner that was more sensible to my way of thinking. Here’s the main barn……and here’s the small barn……The tractors can rest up in either barn but there’s also room in the workshop, so the Valtra is currently in there…

IRL it’s been a busy day – sandwiched between doing the game-play this morning and writing this post this evening, I did the 200 mile round drive to drop my Son off at University. Now I’m tired 😉 I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick look at West Newton Farm. I intend to continue posting from both farms although priority will be given to Boundary Farm. I also need to post some more Trucking Digest and possibly some other games, so the frequency of the farming posts will decrease a bit once more.

It’s a time of change. New theme for my blog and I think it may be the end of the road for Oak Glen Farm in its current format. All of the thinking about the next steps – which fields to buy, etc, had left me wondering if I should restart with a different strategy. The final straw came yesterday when I tried harvesting my Sugar Beet. I hooked up the Rooster to the Massey 7726 and set off…

The first problem I encountered is the capacity limit of the machine – even my small field fills the basket before I reach the end of a row. So there I am sat in the middle of the field needing to unload into a trailer. OK – I’m thinking – there’s going to be a lot of trailer runs for this harvest! Then I hit the big problem – taking a trailer into the crop destroys the plants as you go. Fortunately, I hadn’t been playing for 15 minutes when I made this discovery so by exiting the game without saving I was able to reset the clock back to before the harvest. Next I try manoeuvring the rootster down the side of the field – this too incurs crop damage whenever I depart from a straight track and also leaves some beet unharvested. I decided at this point that I’d show you the combined effects harvester and trailer on the crop, so I deliberately drove the trailer over to the harvester……having got there I thought I should at least show the Rootster unloading…

I have looked for trailers that can be given narrow crop-friendly wheels. I’ve tried using a small trailer that has narrow wheels – it still wrecks the crop 😦 There is a solution of course. I could turn off crop damage in the settings but that sort of goes against the grain for me. Instead I’m taking this away as another lesson learned in the game that will guide me in future field / crop choices. Sugar Beet are best planted in a field with a straight side that has room for a trailer to come alongside the harvester without driving across the crop. There was another option I could try in future, remove the tops first then run the harvester over the crop (with narrow tyres on the tractor) – that approach could reduce the risk of damage by the harvester. Then it would be easier to create a bridgehead in the crop for the trailer because the harvester only configuration would be more manoeuverable. And why haven’t I discovered this issue before? It hasn’t been a problem with my previous crops because they just don’t return 6000l in a single row, so there’s always been room to bring a trailer alongside!

So what will I do now? I really love the Oakfield Farm map and it has swayed my thinking about what type of map I prefer to play on. Whatever I choose to do next, it will be on another real-world based map. That rules out doing the Holzman’s Farm idea as that is on a fictional map. Oak Glen Farm is in Gloucestershire. I have three other maps in mind as alternative venues for a series located respectively in Hampshire, Shropshire and Ayrshire.

So these are my options going forward:-

1, Carry on regardless (with the crop damage off for this one harvest) – Oak Glen Farm continues.
2, Do a Start from Scratch on this map – adopting a different approach to the field creation method used in this series – Oak Glen Farm continues but differently.
3, Do a Start from Scratch on a different map, creating a totally new series – New Farm / new series name.

So I have a lot to think about! I’ll leave you with some shots from recent activity on Oak Glen Farm…

Working through the second day on the farm and doing more mowing and baling for other farmers. The equipment is getting grubby and will need a service by the end of the day…

While I’ve been working the crop has been through its flowering cycle and has set seed. By midday it is ready to harvest! The speed that crops grow and ripen in Farming Sim requires the player to suspend belief but if they reached ready to harvest state in normal time it would be a pretty boring game. Frankly, the game is mainly about playing with farm equipment and the plants and animals are really only there to provide a reason to do so 😉 And, the crop being ready to harvest means it’s time to buy myself a Harvester. The vehicle will again be small and I’m keeping a tight grip on the budget. Much as I would like to buy the Claas Tucano again (see the first post in the original series) I can’t justify the cost. John Deere were also over the budget I was prepared to pay. I narrowed it down to three possibilities – two are vehicles from the modhub and one was a bonus addition to the game with the Claas Platinum Pack.

The Case IH 1660 Axial Flow which has a 5.5m header and 190HP engine. Here’s a screenshot from the modhub site……Cost: £177k

The Claas Dominator 108 SL Maxi which has a 5.1m header and 221HP engine. A shot from the shop……Cost £165.5k

The New Holland TC5.90 which has a 5.5m header and a 258HP engine. This was the most expensive at £185k for Harvester and Head. When I factored in the higher horse power which was desirable for working some of the fields in the valley, I felt that the TC5.90 was worth the slightly higher price over the other harvesters. Here it is parked outside the dealer…

After taking the harvester to the field, it was time to get my trailer, reinstall the sides and take that to the field also. Then we got down to harvesting our Canola crop…

Best price for Canola was being offered at the Hill Top Stores. Another reason for only using a small trailer with my 150HP Fendt – it’s a tough climb to get up there……and deliver the seed to their silo……But the 12000l brought a nice income of £13553. There was a further 1250l which I took back to our own silo for storage.

Harvesting done it’s time to take the TC5.90 home to the farm – it’s a tight fit through the gate of the field with the header fitted…

And so, the cycle begins again. The field doesn’t need ploughing or lime but I need to turn in the chaff and Canola stalks so it’s off to work with the disc harrow…

We have £412k in the bank and I can probably think about starting to pay back the £250k loan. But I would like a Tedder to allow me to make hay from grass. I probably need to buy another field either for grass or for other cash crops. Then there are the Chickens – can I start rearing them yet? While the crop cycle may happen at an unholy gallop, the game certainly gives you lots of decisions to make! Finally, I have to decide what crop to sow in my freshly cultivated field – We’ll find out about some of these things in my next post. Plough on regardless Folks 🙂