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 🙂

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 🙂

Somehow I found myself with two crops approaching maturity at the same time – it seems that the maturation cycle is longer for Soy Beans than for Wheat. Although I could have guessed at that in the real world, I hadn’t realised that it happens in game. Additionally, both crops had areas of their field that were less mature. In game terms that means waiting for all parts of the field to be ripe which narrows the window for harvesting by a crop-growth cycle. In those circumstances, I decided that I couldn’t tie myself up in other farmers contracts for the time being. Instead I pushed on with my field 4 project – it’s time to surgically remove some trees.

As mentioned in the previous post, the idea is to expand the field and thus increase my grass production for silage / hay. I made a start on the north side of the field, leaving the shrubbed area near the gate but cutting in further along. The amount of space available for use behind the trees is immediately apparent……however, I did find a couple of old hedges in amongst the trees that hint at old field boundaries and I’ve decided to leave those in place. I’m also leaving the trees closest to the current field boundaries.

Removing trees in a proper forestry setting is something that you can get specialist machinery for and if I was farming on a Scandinavian map, for example, one aspect of my farming might include using such machines. But Gloucestershire is very much arable farming country so I’m using a chainsaw to chop down the trees and cut them into transportable pieces of timber. The Massey 3090 is hauling the wood away in the Metaltech trailer……From previous experience I know that the log-forks are useless to picking up downed trees, so I’m using a manure fork which works a lot better. The one piece of specialist equipment I have bought is a stump grinder. After taking away the first couple of trees, the field already looks a lot bigger when seen from the road……The project will continue over the next couple of days with the wood being sold to boost imcome temporarily.

As with the last harvest, my two crops became fully ready in the late evening – around 21:00 so we did a night harvest in both fields. My Soy beans went into one of our farm silos as the current price is not very good. 17000l of Wheat was kept in the Metaltech TB20 trailer overnight as I kept an eye on the prices. A residue of of around 1600l in the harvester went to the Chickens. The flock is growing – there are now 54 hens – and there is a steady flow of eggs. The Seven Springs Inn needed some of those and at over £4 a litre, I took a box of 150l there first thing the next morning to get a nice £612 for very little work 🙂

With the sun up I found prices for Wheat still volatile, but the main farm was again offering a very good price for silage – I guess their Cows need some more Total Mix Ration. So it was time to sell off the remaining 23 silage bales from my stock……that’s close on £34k earnt, which is why field 4 needs expanding! Mid-morning and with the offers for Wheat stable, I sold my crop at Hill Top Stores for close on £13k. I’ve also collected the Straw Swath from the wheat and sold that

Funds are improving and although my main next purchase is a more powerful tractor, I have splashed out on a workshop facility for my farm to stop the regular trips to the dealer for maintenance and to change between narrow and normal tyres. It’s a cheap open shed but it’ll do……A quick note on adding buildings to farms. The price of the building is quoted at the shop – In this case £7500. But there is a hidden cost that can really hurt you financially. When you place the building, any terraforming required to smooth the land where the building is going will be charged to you as construction costs and on bumpy terrain they can be eye-wateringly high. I had two possible locations for the placement of my workshop and this was the flatter of the two. Even so, the terraforming added nearly £1200 to the cost. If I was building a sheep facility in field 4, which is definitely not flat!, I might well find the cost of the work exceeding the cost of the facility itself and by quite a large margin. It would be nice if the game told you how much cost you are going to incur, but it doesn’t. So, be careful where you place your buildings!

I now have two fields to prepare for their next crops and a crop of Barley approaching maturity in 14 West. I also need to harvest some grass and make a new batch of silage bales. This game certainly likes to keep you busy!!!