The Devil makes work for Idle Hands… As true in Farming Simulator as in real life! After my last post I made some steps towards starting pig farming. I was watching a Corn crop in one of Mason’s fields – I planned to help out with a corn harvest and collect any leftovers when the job was deemed to be complete as part of my stock up on food for piggies project. With my bank balance at over £120k I looked at the modules available for the Lindner – I’d need a water tank for starters……Nice and cheap. Pigs will need straw bedding – essential if I want them to produce Manure. There are forage wagons for collecting straw but they’re not cheap and as I already have a good baler for collecting the straw after a harvest, 2 other options presented themselves. I could buy a Bale Breaker to deliver straw to the pigs – this would mean finding somewhere to store some bales as well as the breaker. The concrete silo wouldn’t be available once I have pigs as that is where the manure they produce goes. The other option was to buy the Forage Module for the Lindner……which is the option I chose. It’s a very competent piece of kit, taking over 11k litres of straw, and better suited to the use I have in mind than getting a full size forage trailer I said that the Lindner would be busy – not such a rash purchase after all!

The next morning, the rains came. With the rain lashing down, any form of harvesting was out of the question:-( Not that Mason’s crop was quite ready yet. So there I was twiddling my thumbs with little to do except some cultivating. I reviewed my finances again and postulated on some what-if’s then I decided to take a gamble and get the pigs now. I took the Massey 3090 to the store and bought 6 bags of Pig-Feed to tide me over. Buying the Pigs meant paying the dealer to deliver, hiring a trailer or buying one myself. I opted to buy the Knies VA-6 which would allow me to carry 9 pigs. Actually it was the ‘wrong’ choice but more on that in a while! I collected the trailer from the store before driving to the Animal Dealer. My plan was to start with 8 pigs. Here we are delivering them back to the farm……Then I rushed around giving them the feed, water and straw bedding. Pigs installed and the rain still tipping down I got on with the cultivating because now the pressure is on to produce the food the Pigs need (as well as the chickens!)…

Being somewhat poorer as a result of buying the pigs, I was glad when the rains ended. With no harvesting having been possible there were some interesting price spikes. You can’t mow the lawn when it’s wet so Silage was on a high at £405 per 1000l – it was all ‘hands to the pumps’ harvesting my grass fields which produced 30 bales – once again silage was coming to my rescue……My Sunflower crop in Alehouse field should have been split into part sale and part Pig food but with the price at a high of £1517 per 1000l, it all got sold – the pigs will have to wait for the Soy Bean crop. Mason’s Corn had ripened and I was able to make some money from helping out by harvesting that. There was a surplus of 3800l after the job was complete, so that’s back in the silo to feed the pigs.

The Chickens have been doing well – laying lots of Eggs and increasing the size of the flock. The flock has now reached 120 hens and that’s the point at which I wanted to sell 20 birds. There is an issue with this. The dealer pays £25 per bird but charges a handling fee of £15 per bird to take them away – so you only make £10 per bird 😦 There’s a developer oversight here too as there are no in-game trailers that handle Chicken transport. It’s Mod time again! To add the ability to carry Chickens in a trailer you need to add the ‘Livestock Trailer Addon’ into your game. This will then allow a selection of mod trailers to carry chickens if the mod owner has made the necessary changes to the .xml file. Unfortunately, the Knies VA-6 is not one of them. I had to buy a new trailer to carry my chickens, the Bruneau HSRB5390. The good news is that it was cheaper than the Knies mainly because it has less capacity for pigs, sheep and cows. So when I sold the VA-6 I actually got back £3k more than the Bruneau cost! Result 🙂 Time to take those chickens to market and get paid the full price…

I thought I’d conclude with the animal screens……You can see the Pigs need mainly Corn for their food but a variety of other food groups are also required to get the best out of them. Lowest on the list are Potatoes and Sugar Beet – although they only form a 5% ‘effectiveness’ part of the diet, I’m going to need to souce some of those. And none of the other farmers are growing that crop right now – right when I need them too! With a healthy stock of Corn in the silo, Soy Beans growing and Barley now ready to harvest, I’m thinking that I can plant Sugar Beet in Ale House field instead of Corn for the last crop of the current cycle. That will mean buying around £120k of equipment to harvest it – hence the pressure to get the finances up quickly. On the other hand, the Chickens are now almost self-sustaining. The food they need is readily available from my own fields……and they’re now producing a good crop of Eggs as well as birds to sell back to the dealer 🙂

I’ll leave you with a shot of an early morning wash with the moon setting behind the farmhouse…

The farming goes on following the natural cycle of harvest, prepare, sow, fertilize and harvest again. Manor Field (13) has produced a good crop of wheat which I harvested yesterday……That’s all gone into a silo for the time being while I wait for prices to rise. I tapped off some for the Chickens. After harvesting a grain crop there’s always a great Straw harvest to be collected too……That’s £8k sitting there!

Ale House Field produced a good crop of Corn and now needs ploughing. I sold the first trailer load of 17000l for nearly £15k and put the rest in my grain silo where it joined the residue from helping out harvesting Corn in Mason’s field. I’m starting to build-up a small quantity of each type of crop I grow in this way now. In time, I should have a working stock of food that will allow me to start rearing Pigs though that is still a way off. I’m also going to be looking at helping out with root crop harvests for other farmers – any residue I get from that can go in the silos for pig-feed too. For now I’ve been planning my future crop activities. I think I’m going to put Ale House Field onto a 3 crop cycle of Sunflower, Canola, Corn, then Lime and Plough before repeating. Manor Field and Coberley Field will mix grain crops and Soy Beans – those will not require me to plough every third crop though all the fields will require Lime.

If you recall, I mentioned a grass area behind the Chicken Coop where I could harvest some wild grass to boost my Silage production? In a lull between sowing and harvesting, I decided to take a plough to that area and make it a proper field of grass……That should more than double the silage crop from that area once the grass I’ve sown is mature.

I’ve had one rash expense since the last report from the farm. I’ve needed a utility vehicle to handle small jobs like delivering eggs and taking feed to the Chickens. I could have bought a pick-up for around £35k and left the feeding of the birds to the Massey 3090 and trailer, but that means continuously reconfiguring the trailer each time so it can carry grain or a load of pallets. I looked at getting a flatbed van like the MAN TGE that is available as a mod for the game. I tried it out and didn’t like it. In the end I went and bought a Lindner Unitrac (another mod) which costs £98k… This is a true off-road vehicle – worth reading about on the company’s website…I’ve bought the tipper module and that allows me to do those Chicken related jobs. In the future, when Pigs join our menagerie, I can add a tank module at very low cost to deliver water as well as using the tipper to deliver food to them. So an expensive purchase initially but one with a busy future ahead if my plans come to fruition. But for the moment it’s just FUN!!! 🙂

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 🙂