Time to try out another map in Farming Simulator 19. This map is based on a real location in Cornwall called Bessy Beneath. Like most maps it offers a choice of possible starting farms from the main dairy farm in the area to a couple of very small sheep farms. As far as I can see, all aspects of gameplay are present and the scenery is well crafted although it’s probably not quite as good as the Oakfield Farm and Six Ashes maps which I have been playing on.

Perhaps it’s time to tell a bit about what happens before any of my Farming Simulator 19 series. There’s a lot of background work goes on in this game before I start to show you my posts. I test some options, try out owning various farms on the map that I’m hoping to build a series around. Some maps fall by the wayside during this testing – not because there is anything inherently bad about them, they just don’t suit my style of play. A classic example would be Marwell Manor – created by the same modder as Oakfield Farm, the removal of all the farm buildings if you choose to play as anything other than New Farmer doesn’t sit well. But a lot of players only ever play as New Farmer, so it fulfills a need. The West Newton Farm map has the issue of all that farm equipment sitting there if you choose to play somewhere other than the main farm, whatever mode you choose to play in.

Then there is the decision of whether to play with Seasons activated. It took me a long time to cross that bridge but I’m glad I finally bit the bullet with Boundary Farm on the Six Ashes map. Now it’s time to push on to the level that the Season’s developers feel gives the most realistic feel of time passing – that’s using nine in-game days to represent each 3-month season and setting the clock to 5x speed. I’ve been playing Boundary farm in real time, so this will be quite a change.

To assess the change I have tried several starts on the Bessy Beneath map and after testing I think I can say that the 5x speed probably reins in the amount of work you can achieve in a day to a much more realistic amount. From mixing and matching different types of work and earning up to £70k per in-game day, I may get two fields ploughed and earn £8k before the light goes during an early spring day. That’s quite a hit on the potential finances of a farmer trying to start from scratch!

During testing I’ve taken some shots that I hope will give a basic idea how the map looks in early spring…

…And it’s clear that there’ll be a lot of dawn starts and quite a bit of working into the late evening. And there’s also the opportunity to do some submarine ploughing too 😉

I’ve decided to play this map alongside the Six Ashes map – so then you can see just how quickly I move through the seasons on Rosland Farm compared with Boundary Farm. It will also display the much harder financial task facing me as I play at the faster clock speed. If you’ve been watching the monies in the top corner of the screenshots you’ll know that I’ve been doing a good job of keeping my head above water on Boundary Farm and I expect to have almost all the money I need sitting in the bank when it comes to harvest time and I need to make that big purchase! Rosland farm will be so very different and if I want to progress I will almost certainly need to take out a bank loan.

On this map, I’m going to be a Sheep farmer with some arable work thrown in. That will be a learning process too! I’ll tell you how it goes over the next few weeks 🙂

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…

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 🙂 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 😉

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 £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 🙂