A lot has happened here since my last post from Boundary Farm. The Barley seed in my field is still dormant with the soil temperature stubbornly staying at 4 degrees. It’s now the end of April and I’m hoping that the first week of May will bring a warming of the soil so the seeds can germinate. The trees are in full leaf and hide much of my farm yard from passing planes…

…My field (51) is on the left of the screen and you can see the farmhouse (marked on the minimap in the corner) top right of centre. In the foreground to the left of the trees is the main barn. And you can just see the trailer and cultivator peaking through the trees on the right.

You may notice that field 42 has a green number on the map – I’ve been spending my hard earned cash and in the last few days of April I bought that field. Boundary Farm now straddles the parish boundary! I quickly sowed Canola (Rape) just before the window for planting that crop ended. Once again – I just hope the soil warms enough for the seed to germinate. It’s an anxious time 😦

Doing all that work for other farmers is making me lots of money. But it’s also hard on the equipment. The wear and tear is showing on my New Holland with paint missing from many of the mechanical parts…

I decided to buy another tractor to spread the load – something a little less powerful but suited to transport jobs and other light work such as crop spraying. Talking of which, I also wanted a crop sprayer because fertilizing and weed killing will be next on the daily work agenda! I bought the sprayer first as weeds had just started to appear in my field and I needed to nip that situation in the bud! You can see it on the right in the barn – I’ll show a closer shot later.

I went to the dealership with a detailed shopping requirement for the tractor. It should be able to fit wheel weights and a front loader. Narrow tyres should be an option and the horsepower should be 80HP plus. Preferably it should be cheap too 😉 I did think about the New Holland T4 – jokingly referred to as Baby Blue – but it didn’t take wheel weights. The T5 does but was too expensive. I would have liked to buy the Massey-Ferguson 390T but again, no wheel weights. Their 3000 series met all the criteria and I could have opted for the 3070 option which has a 95hp engine but I’m trying to use a lot of different equipment on this map and we drove the 3090 version of that tractor a lot on Oak Glen Farm. The Valtra A series was considered but discarded because, although it does have wheel weights, they are insufficiently heavy to prevent the tractor tipping when trying to lift a 2000l pallet load of Herbicide (I found that out while testing on West Newton Farm)! The Valtra N was ruled out as too expensive while the G didn’t have the weights or narrow tyres. So, in the end I chose to buy a Lamborghini…

…That’s the Nitro which has a 100hp engine and it fits all my requirements very well for a total price of £75k. Now I can pose on Bond Street with the other cruisers 😉 It’s quite amusing to see it next to the New Holland T6 because it has much larger wheels and they look almost the same size as a result.

The new tractor was put straight to work with transport jobs…

…There’s three 2000l pallets there – it didn’t even wobble lifting those 🙂 Then we did some fertilizing on contract for other farms – with the narrow tyres on for those jobs where a crop had been planted…

…The sprayer is the Caruelle Nicolas Stilla 460, which holds 4600l of either fertilizer or herbicide. It is available as a mod through the modhub. Again, I wanted to try a different piece of equipment, having opted for the Hardi Mega 2200 every time in the past. A towed sprayer allows for greater capacity which is handy given that some of these fields are quite large. The working width of this one is 28m – an average width among sprayers as they cover between 15m and 36m depending on the boom length. This is what it looks like when folded for transport…

…It’s a lovely, hazy morning looking down the valley 🙂

More from Boundary Farm in a future post and we’ll be looking at another Farm map too 🙂

You’re probably thinking ‘Hang on! I thought we were working Boundary Farm?’ We are but much of what I’m doing there is repetitive work mainly for other farmers so I thought I’ll give you an update a little later in the week. Instead I thought a post about starting on West Newton Farm……in Ayrshire might bring some variety.

If you recall back to my post where I gave my reasons for selecting the Six Ashes map for a play through, I explained that the provision of lots of equipment at the main farm on the West Newton map hints heavily that the player should be opting to work there. It is a dairy farm and that means buying cows, which I’m not entirely ready for! However, I think perhaps I can slowly learn on the job 😉 The farm comes with 3 grass fields… and will leave you with £104k in the bank when you buy it. However you won’t need to buy a lot of equipment to start with as most of the things you need are there. For example, there’s a header for a harvester hiding in the workshop……There’s grass mowing and baling equipment along with a Valtra A series tractor in the big barn……along with a Joskin Betimax animal trailer and some seeds, fertilizer and herbicide……there’s also a selection of lifter tools like pallet forks, etc, out back.

In the small barn there’s a New Holland TX32 to go with the header in the workshop, along with seeding equipment and a crop sprayer……There’s a water tanker standing outside……opposite the cowshed in which you find a New Holland T6.175 and a Kuhn Knight RA 142 auger wagon for mixing and delivering cattle feed……I’ll need to read up about how to use that! Finally, parked outside the farmhouse is a pick-up…

There are some surprising omissions. There’s no Tedder for drying Grass to make Hay. There’s no weight for the tractors to prevent them being tipped by heavy loads or equipment. With seeding equipment you’d expect a plough and a means of cultivating but neither are present. And finally, there’s no trailer for either moving things around or taking grain from a harvest to a sell-point. So there are some things you will probably need to buy as you progress. In fact I went off straight away to get a weight from the dealer in the Valtra. Gonna need that if I’m going to move the herbicide and such around!

The other odd thing is the positioning of some of the equipment/vehicles. When I got back I had decided that my first prioity was to repair the main tractor and the harvester, then relocate things in a manner that was more sensible to my way of thinking. Here’s the main barn……and here’s the small barn……The tractors can rest up in either barn but there’s also room in the workshop, so the Valtra is currently in there…

IRL it’s been a busy day – sandwiched between doing the game-play this morning and writing this post this evening, I did the 200 mile round drive to drop my Son off at University. Now I’m tired 😉 I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick look at West Newton Farm. I intend to continue posting from both farms although priority will be given to Boundary Farm. I also need to post some more Trucking Digest and possibly some other games, so the frequency of the farming posts will decrease a bit once more.

Given that I only have one field, the preparation of which is complete, the main focus in mid-March is doing work for other farmers to make some money. With money comes the chance to slowly expand my available equipment which widens the range of jobs I can do. I decided to start doing transport jobs as they pay quite well and don’t take long to do. I could have used the Strautmann trailer for this work but I prefer a 2 axle trailer with headboards at each end, so I decided to trade it in for a MetalTech TB8. I also looked at a Joskin equivalent but in terms of value for money the MetalTech wins. In fact the new trailer cost only £200 initially after the money I got back from the Strautmann is deducted from the cost. The trailer will only be used for transporting so I stuck to low sides. I can add a cover at a later date. Add in a front lift fitment along with pallet fork and total cost was under £8000. Here we go on our first delivery……The other thing I wanted to get into is Ploughing – it pays better than cultivating for a given area of field and there are quite a few ploughing jobs appearing.

The plough sits alongside the wheel as a key invention in the history of mankind. With domestication of animals, it was an enabler of the move from a nomadic lifestyle to an agrarian society. We’ve moved on from a single pointed stick that was dug into the ground to create a furrow and turn the soil, but not as far as you might think! A single blade of a modern plough would look quite familiar to a medieval farmer although having two rows of blades as we have on a modern reversible plough might result in a confused look. I suspect our farmer would grasp the concept quickly enough and then ask where we could get a team of horses capable of pulling the beast! The horses are now metal of course, as are the ploughs, and their ability to pull the plough is rated in Horsepower. And that is what started this train of thought 🙂

If you recall from previous posts about Farming Simulator, every tool that your tractor tows has a ‘required’ horsepower rating, the Agromasz POH5 plough for example……which you can see requires 150HP. Whenever you go to the modhub you find those words ‘required horsepower’ cropping up in most tools you look at. The effect is that the player – ie me – assumes that you need a tractor of at least that horsepower to be able to use the tool. It has the effect of making some of the lower power tractors unemployable for work like ploughing. But is it like that in the real world, where a farmer may have to get by with whatever tractor he has to hand?

In the last post I talked briefly about the Lemken Titan 18 and the difficulties lining it up for each cut. I hypothesised that I would be able to do the work quicker with a rigid plough – I had the Lemken Variopal 8 in mind at the time. That is a 6-furrow plow and requires 180HP. Now there’s that word requires again! Because I wanted to take on ploughing jobs and would prefer a 3m plough I went digging through the available plough mods in the hub. It was there that I found the Grégoire Besson Prima series of ploughs and more specifically, their Prima 70 which is also a 6-furrow 3m plough. What struck me was the required hp rating of 150HP. How does that work when compared with the requirement for the Lemken Variopal 8? I have spent some time since on the Grégoire Besson site (which is very informative) and several farmers chat sites! Now I have a clearer idea of what horespower is really required for general ploughing.

Ok – from the farmers chat… A good rule of thumb is 25HP per furrow -The ancient Egyptians used to get by with a single Ox for their one-furrow plough 😉 If I apply that rule to our ploughs, the Agromasz POH5 should work fine with 125HP (in-game required 150HP) while the 150HP rating of the Grégoire Besson Prima 70 is bang on the money for a 6-furrow plough. I went back to the game help pages and dug out this page about the icons……Icon 3 uses the term Required Power. It goes on to give a slight clarification – ‘to work the tool properly. That raises another question – define properly in the case of an unpowered tool such as a plough? Back in the farmers chat room and one farmer tells of using a 400hp tractor to pull a 6-furrow plough which drew the response… “just how fast do you want to plough!” That suggests that any tractor that is reasonably close in HP to the ‘required’ HP for a plough will be able to do the work but at reduced speed. Using 400HP on the other hand is probably pointless as there is a preferred maximum speed to plough at – most of the ploughs in-game prefer 7mph and I’m assuming that is close to a real-life ploughing speed. Go any faster and I expect the Gulls will be complaining that they can’t keep up 😉 I’ve certainly never seen a tractor driving across a field at sportscar pace while ploughing.

Time for an ingame experiment on Oak Glen Farm. For this I used items that come with the base game to remove a risk that mods might skew the result. I’ve chosen the 102HP Lindner Lintrac 90 – one of those tractors that didn’t seem to have a use. I’ve attached it to the Agromasz POH5 150HP plough and we’re going up to field 47 which has as moderate gradient as you can see……Initially I plough along the side of the field, up the hill……and the tractor is maintaining 4mph – a little slower than the ploughs maximum of 7mph. Then I plough across the field which is essentially flat……the Lindner achieves 6mph, flicking to 7mph. So a 100HP tractor can haul a 150HP rated plough with some loss of speed – effectively the job will take longer. But, I’m guessing that lots of farmers have to make do like that in the real world.  I’d also expect the farmer to plough across the gradient where possible, rather than up it,  to make the work easier for the tractor.   Perhaps the game should use the word Recommended rather than Required – at least where no power out from the tractor is required 😉

Anyway, I did buy the Grégoire Besson Prima 70 and I’m enjoying using it on medium sized fields. I’ve fitted wheel weights to the tractor to help with adhesion when the weather turns wet……I’ve got the 1000kg weight on the front to balance things and keep the front wheels on the road. My turn-arounds at the end of each cut are significantly faster than with the Titan 18 – which is what I expected and I know I’m completing those fields faster than I ever could with that over-sized beast!

I mentioned how informative the Grégoire Besson site is- this page explains so much about how to choose elements of your plough and has a great bit near the bottom about the difference between in-furrow and on-land ploughing – I didn’t know there was such a thing but now realise I’m usually doing the in-furrow kind…

When you play simulation games, like Farming Simulator 19 or one of the Truck simulator games, you can often find yourself deep in thought. Sometimes those thoughts lead to a piece of investigative journalism like today’s report from Boundary Farm. I hope it was of interest 🙂