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 🙂

Carpe Diem! – Not sure if that’s the right turn of phrase? I was keeping an eye on prices as usual and I noted that the Silage price was climbing quite quickly. It was already over the £350 level that I view as a prepare to harvest and sell Silage from my grass fields. So I harvested field 32 and the grass behind the chicken coop……The price was still climbing! It was time to drop everything else because it looked like that price was going to top £400 and it presented a great opportunity to earn a lot of money. With the bales from the first two areas loaded on the wagon and parked close to the sell point, I checked the state of the grass in my recently sown Field 4. That was also ready to harvest and although I’d have preferred to leave it a bit longer to get a better crop, I decided to cut and bale that field too. By the time I’d done that the price was on £400 and still showing as rising. I decided to fertilize the other grass fields while I waited. By the time I’d done that the price had finally stabilised at £403 per 1000l of Silage. Time to sell!!! Here’s the Fendt arriving back at my farm with the second load of bales from field 4…

The profit from the Silage was over £35k and suddenly I could afford to buy field 13 – which just happens to be full of ‘ready to harvest’ grass! So I bought the field that I’ve had my eye on for a while and rushed off to harvest it……There was a huge amount of grass here and it took a while to cut and prepare for baling……Ultimately I made 26 bales and had to transport them in two trips using the Anderson RBM2000…

All that Baling activity, including the straw bales from the earlier harvest earnt me over £87k! So as the day drifted towards evening I found myself in the position of having £80K despite having bought field 13 for £113k. Taking advantage of the exceptional price circumstances has really boosted my farm.

I went to field 14 East and sowed Oats……then I took the decision to buy a seeder for Sunflowers and Corn – the Horsch Maestro 8RC……Field 14 West has now been sown with my first crop of Sunflowers 🙂

The next tasks are to prepare the original field for the next crop and then to plough two new fields in the existing field 13. I really must consider naming my fields because the numbers lack character. I think field 4 will become Spinney Field and field 32 should be Triangle Field. I’ll see what I come up with for the others 🙂 Stay safe everyone and hopefully I’ll have some Sunflowers to share next time 🙂

Grind… Grind is our thought for the day… Grind is a Timesink… Almost all computer games have it. In many, especially games from Triple A publishers, it is deliberately introduced into the game. Usually the grind is there to give the player a sense of achievement when they finally get a rare resource or special weapon, having worked long hours to get it. More recently it has become central to a controversial form of monetisation in games produced by certain publishers – made excessively hard to encourage players to purchase ‘time saving’ items from the publisher’s store. There are other forms of monetisation like loot boxes that have now come under the eye of governments around the world as they often constitute gambling where many of the players are below the legal age to gamble. Again, Grind is used as a way to push the player into trying to be lucky with loot boxes and purchasing them multiple times in the hope of getting the desired reward.

Does Grind exist in Simulation games? Of course it does but that’s just part of simulating something that happens in the real world of whatever the game is simulating – it isn’t something artificial that the developers have introduced. Is it used to ‘monetise’ the game? Not normally. An example of monetisation that I would recognise as such is the availability of special fishing kit dlc’s in The Fisherman – Fishing Planet. These are often purchased by new players to get a kick-start in the game as they offer higher level equipment than is available when you first start, along with some in-game cash. But they’re aren’t forced upon you by the Grind of trying to level-up which happens very quickly anyway and they do offer some cosmetic items that are otherwise not available in the game – so you choose whether you want to be seen in a gold and white spandex jacket by other players 😉 Definitely not my style! In The Hunter – Call of the Wild you can purchase weapons pack DLC’s. They will give you access to some more interesting and more powerful weapons than the initial ones in the game but they won’t make you any more successful as a hunter as that is entirely related to your ability to find the animals and shoot accurately. So neither of these really offer a way to reduce any Grind you may experience in those games.

The Truck and Farming Sim games have Grind – it’s part of being a Farmer or a Long Distance Truck driver in real life. Do the games offer ways to avoid the Grind? Yes, but you don’t buy them – they’re part of the base game. In the Truck Simulators I can opt for only short jobs – there’s a job length slider in the settings menu and the game will then offer more short distance jobs if I wish or mainly long distance if I prefer that. In farming sim, you can hire a helper to do your task for you such as seeding or harvesting while you either watch them or get on with another task around the farm. There is a caveat to that, and one which prompted this preamble, you can’t use a helper when you’re creating a new field because the game engine can’t know where the boundaries of your new field are going to be. So you have to plough it yourself and Do The Grind!

Which brings us neatly to field 14 that I mowed in the last post. I’m creating a new crop field on the west side of the track through the field and because the plough only cuts a swathe 2.5m wide at a speed of 7mph that is going to take some time. Starting at the bottom (south end) of the new planting area with the first few rows done……It’s going to be a long morning. Forty minutes later and we’re a third of the way up the slope……I’m running on real time, so that’s forty real world minutes of rinse and repeat, row-upon-row. Just over half-way and we enjoy a Spitfire flypast……Finally after an hour and forty-five minutes, the job is done……Now that’s Grind!

Could I have avoided the Grind? Well, I could have bought a pre-existing crop field from another farmer – then I could have got a helper to plough the field for me. But the cost of buying such a field was too high for my budget and my intended way of growing my farm so that was out of the question. Another option was to ‘cheat’!! There are fast ploughing mods out there which make your plough cut a much wider swathe than it’s supposed to and allow your tractor to do the work at 30mph instead of 7mph – Can you really see me going down that road in a simulation?? So I accept the grind because it’s part and parcel of being a Farmer.

I said that I wanted to get this second crop field ‘on-line’ as quickly as possible because the Euro Truck Sim Community Event is probably starting today so yesterday I pressed on in the real world afternoon, Liming and Cultivating in preparation for Sowing. The good news is that the field’s previous owner had fertilized the Grass – so when I ploughed the grass in it, in-turn, fertilized the field so I don’t have to do that step 🙂 Final task then was to Sow the field……and I’m planting Soy Beans which is a good cash crop. And here we are, folding up the seeder after completing the task……Just got to wash down the implements and take some of them for maintainence – the plough in particular is looking a bit worse for wear…

I will continue to post about Oak Glen Farm but it’ll be less frequently. My next task will probably be harvesting my crop of Oats in the other field, then it’ll be time to cut a crop field into the other side of field 14 – possibly for Wheat or Barley which would open the door for Chickens. Have a great day everyone! 🙂