With the Euro Truck Community Event looking like it will start on Thursday (coding permitting) I can put a bit more time into our Farm. I left the last post with a list of decisions that were hanging over my farm at that point and I didn’t even mention Pigs! A couple of mugs of farmer-strength tea and two of the listed options have been taken. I bought a Tedder so I can take on hay making and I bought the other small grass field – no 32 halfway up the valley. I decided that it’s not yet time for Chickens – checking Wheat and Barley prices shows them at a low so I won’t be sowing those as crops in this cycle which in turn means I’d have to buy chicken feed.

I got talking to one of the other farmers at the roadside cafe (translation – watching play-through videos on YouTube) and he suggested that I might find a different seeder better for my situation than the Stara Ceres. After all, I’m harrowing the field and fertilizing it with other equipment anyway so I’m not really using the Ceres’ 3-in-1 capability. A different option would be one of the Horsch, Kuhn or Vaderstad range. I’d get a wider sowing track and an easier vehicle to line up for each pass. I took that idea on-board and that’s yet another decision to be made before choosing our next crop.

After fertilizing my cultivated field with the Amazone spreader, I emptied out some residual seed from the Ceres seeder and took it to the shop to trade in – £33k back as it’s almost brand new (a loss of £6k). I decided to get the Horsch Pronto 6AS and its associated seed tank – total cost £36k. For that I’m getting a 6m sowing width over a 3.6m one and I only need a 60HP tractor to pull it so if I decide to get a second tractor to ease the workload on the Fendt, I can get another small one in the 80-100HP range and those can be relatively cheap. There is a hidden saving too – When I went to sow my field with this new seeder, I didn’t hire a worker so there were no wages to pay 🙂

I’ve decided that Oats will be our next crop and that’s what I’m sowing here with the new Horsch…
…It folds up nicely for transport between fields……and it fits inside our small sheds, which the Ceres didn’t, so I can park it out of the way between jobs 🙂

After sowing my oats – you can read that how you want 😉 I took the mowers up to field 32 and harvested the grass, then baled it for silage. There was one bale less than when I harvested it for a contract – I suspect Mason hadn’t bothered to fertilize after the previous crop. Silage prices have taken a hit because of the amount of contract grass harvest jobs I have been doing so I’ve decided to keep the silage bales until things improve – with no pigs, the bunker silo for manure is a good place to store them…

Then it was time to take the spreader up to our new grass field and fertilize. Back down to the farm after completing that job and I found that my Oats are already showing through so into the main field to fertilize that crop too……Then a trip to the shop to replenish our fertilizer supply. We’re into evening and it’s time to take a break. There’s a big harvest contract available in field 36 so I might take that tomorrow. It should pay very well but it will take a very large chunk out of my day. We’ll see how my crop is looking in the morning…

Following on promptly from the previous post because I left us with the field covered in lime and not yet ready for the first crop to be sown. It was a good time to halt beacuse I needed to give some thought to how to progress with the preparations. There were three possible ways forward. Run a Subsoiler over the field to turn in the lime, do the same using a disc-harrow or use a combined cultivator/seeder. As I understand it in-game, having ploughed I could go straight to the latter option and seed as I cultivate. But I decided that I would do a ‘proper job’ on this new field.

Now, I’m not a farmer and if you are I’d be happy to hear corrections to any misconceptions I have here. The Subsoiler is designed to go deep – around a foot down and achieves a similar effect to a Plough but doesn’t turn over the soil like a plough does. The Disc Harrow breaks up the clods of soil on the surface left after ploughing. With that in mind, I decided the correct tool for this job was the Harrow. Here is the Agro Masz Harrow that I bought……and here we are cultivating the field and simultaneously turning in the lime…
…You can see how the furrows left by the Plough are smoothed in the process.

Now we have another choice – buy a Seeder that also fertilizes the field and sow our first crop or fertilize the field first using our existing spreader. The decision was made for me by a fellow farmer who needed one of their fields fertilized and was paying good money for me to do it!..…So off I went with my Amazone spreader to the shop where I filled it with fertilizer. I wasn’t sure how much the neighbour’s larger field would need but I felt I’d likely come back with enough to do my own field too. It’s quite a nice view across the valley from Mason’s field……and I had nearly 3/4 of hopper full of fertilizer after completing the job, so I could come back and fertilize my own field too and still have around 4000l left – Result! 🙂

Time to sow our first crop. If you read the previous abortive series then you’ll recall the need to check prices when choosing a crop. I was thinking Barley because that would give me a start on feed for Chickens. But Barley is in a downward price spiral at the moment and Wheat is at a stable but low price. I opted to grow Canola as it is a well paying if less productive crop and some buyers are improving their prices currently. One downside is that I won’t be collecting straw – I don’t think the size of the field justifies hiring or buying a loading wagon to collect it. At harvesting I’ll set the Combine to deposit chaff and I’ll plough it in before sowing the next crop.

Sometimes I’m a creature of habit. Choosing a Seeder was simple – go with the Stara Ceres Master 3570. It’s served me well in the past and will allow me to cultivate, seed and fertilize in one go now my field is established. This is the shop page advertising its capabilities – it’s the one on the right……and here’s a closer look…

With the Stara loaded with seed I went to sow the field. I was able to get the in-game helpers to do most of the task for me but I did have to go back and fill in some gaps after. Helpers cost wages but are much better at turning this type of trailer around and doing consistant rows than I am, so worth the money to get most of the job done! Here’s the sowing in progress…

And now we wait for the crop or the weeds to appear 😉 More farming in a future post.