When I say ‘In the next post’ it doesn’t usually mean that literally. But on this occasion I need to continue the story because we are about to reach a key point in the farm’s development. But first, lets talk about March.

The first week of March and, with some early weeds growing on other farms, spraying jobs have started to appear. I hired equipment and took on one of these jobs in a large field using a Berthoud sprayer…

…It’s a nice bit of kit! But a bit beyond my budget and needs currently although, with this job type reappearing, I should probably purchase a smaller one for my farm. When I completed that work, it was back to my own field.

I wanted to sow Oats in my field in the first week of march and looking at the in-game weather forecast, that was the best week for sowing anyway. With as much of the preparation work done as seemed reasonable, I loaded up my Amazone seeder and set to work…

…You may be wondering what that green bar and orange wheel on the left are. That’s a ridge marker and many items of farm machinery are fitted with them. It provides a guide for where to position the tractor for the next row. In the case of this Amazone seeder, you have to line up the centre of the tractor with the mark in the soil. On others you may need to line up the wheel nearest to the previous row. They are a handy guide to doing the sowing job efficiently but are less reliable on uneven fields and with bulky pieces of machinery. For example…

…This potato sower I used on a hire job has only left intermittent marks to guide me.

I took a fertilizing job after sowing my crop before bringing the spreader back home and applying the first coat of fertilizer to my own field. Then I bought my own sprayer, because it is only a matter of time before I will have weeds of my own to contend with!

There are a number of options in the game including back-pack and towed types. There are also some mods. I opted for one of the mods – the Kverneland iXter B18…

…a back-pack type. It holds 1800ltrs of kill-juice and you can opt for 3 different maximum widths – 18m, 24m and 28m. I chose the 24m version and opted not to buy an additional tank. Above, I’m spraying another farmers weeds.

I now have just about all the machinery that I need to run my farm. But the cost has meant that I still only have the one small field. I did 2 potato sowing jobs in mid-March and then hit the ground running at the end of March with a glut of fertilizing jobs…

…The spreader putting in a good stint. That pushed my money in the bank up to €60K – a long way from the amount I will need to buy that next field and get a shed for my equipment. I think by now I have shown just how much of a grind playing on the Start From Scratch setting is on this map. I could continue in much the same vein as I have so far, detailing job after job through the rest of this farming year and into the next before I get to buying that next field, etc. – but it will be highly repetitive and I think that is not ideal for a blog post. How can we change that?

There are a number of options. Firstly, I could go into the game menu and change the Economic Difficulty setting…

…The fact that you can do that suggests that Giants recognise that players may need to alleviate the grind while still wishing to start from scratch with very little money. I’m not going to do this (at least not yet!). Another way is through a mod called ‘Government Subsidy’…

…Quite a reasonable option given that the European Union does have farm subsidies. I might try that in future – possibly on another farm if I’m running a series of story posts😉 Yet another option would be to buy some generators – Solar and Wind are available to add to your farm. They give hourly returns too but they cost money – which is what I haven’t got. Again, something for a future farm! There is a final option that will give a one-off cash boost. It’s finding the collectables on the map😎

Collectables are an in-game bonus of sorts that used to be in Farming Simulator 17 but were not implemented in 19. They have returned to FS22. They take the form of toys on the US map and game cartridges on Haut-Beyleron. Each one you collect will give you €50K. So, after a morning’s fertilizing, I decided to spend my lunchtime seeking out some of these to boost my finances.

It’s amazing what you find as you wander around the map looking for the collectables – there are a number of Easter Eggs like this shopping cart full of stale Baguettes…

…I found another baguette elsewhere half buried in concrete🤣 Anyway, here’s one of those games cartridges…

I collected 6 which has given me a €300K boost. There are 14 more out there but I don’t need that money just now, so I’ve got what I came for and it’s time to get back to farming👍

That afternoon I bought field 14 across the tracks from my farmhouse…

…If you look closely at the mini-map in the bottom left you can see both my fields with blue numbers. I spent the rest of the afternoon removing the stones before heading home across the railway line…

I will begin April by building my vehicle shed on the land behind field 14 and hopefully I can build a workshop in my current yard too. Then it will be time to sow a crop in my new field. To be continued in a few irl day’s time😉

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 🙂

It’s been a busy weekend down on the farm. Since the last post I have ploughed field 14 East to prepare it for a crop. That took me quite late into the evening, so I stopped for the night. I was up before the lark next morning and finding the price being offered for silage bales over at Oakfield farm was still £362 per 1000l, I drove off into the still-dark with my loaded trailer and claimed another £11614…

I saw the weather forecast and it didn’t look good for later in the day – rain expected. The wet weather was expected to start around 10am. The only thing I could do on my own farm was continue with field preparation. But neighbouring farmer, Paul, needed help with harvesting his Canola crop so I took his contract and headed off into the gloom in the New Holland……Paul’s field is up the side of the valley to the southeast and I had the devil of a job finding the track for access, but I got there in the end. It was going to have to be a quick job if we were to beat the rain. As if to confirm that, the valley was looking hazy as I emptied the first cut into the trailer…

The crop produced over 34000l of Canola – I delivered 2 trailer loads to Hill Top Stores at which point Paul said he was happy. The Contract was complete and I collected my pay and my third of the crop value – a total of £14561. There was a little surprise bonus – I still had over 4000l of canola in the harvester. With the contract complete that becomes mine! I combined it with the Canola I already had in my silo and sold the lot for another £8k.

Back to my fields and I spread Lime on 14 East before hooking up the disc harrow to work it in. Then I took the harrow round to my original field to cultivate that too. At around 10:15, the rains came……I completed the harrowing and went back to the farm. The rain limits what you can do – harvesting is out of the question and you can forget mowing and baling work too. I checked the price of silage and it was still just above £350 so I took another load of bales up to Oakfield Farm and earned a slightly reduced £11214.

Then I set off to 14 East with the seeder. I had planned to plant Wheat but when I got there I saw the Soy Beans in 14 West had matured and were in the first stage of harvest readiness… …With the rain teeming down and no sign of let-up in the forecast, it looks like I may not get to harvest that crop at all. So I planted Soy Beans in 14 East too in the hope that the rain will have moved on by the time that crop ripens. It looks like I saved Paul’s crop but lost my own 😦

After seeding 14 East, I saw that Mason had a contract to sow Barley in field 36 which is just the other side of the river. I took that job but had to get a helper to do part of it while I went to the shop to get some more seed. Offering £14k, after buying the seed and a short hire of a helper, I made just over £9k. The rain doesn’t stop you seeding – it just makes the tractor and seeder more muddy than usual.

Mason mentioned that he has a weed infestation up in field 27 that needs a dose of herbicide He asked if I’d like to take that job too? I’m thinking about it over a Farmer strength Tea 🙂 And I’ve put out my own contract – on anyone seen doing a rain dance in the local area! At this moment in time the bank balance looks a bit more healthy at just over £190k.