FS15 Mod Review–Trailer Sounds

I realize for the past week or so, just about all my content I’ve published via this blog has to do with my “Let’s Play” series on Paradise Hills.  I’m truly having so much fun recording my game play from this map and making it available via my YouTube channel.  This is something I plan to continue on a regular basis with the launch of Farming Simulator 17 less than two weeks away.  But I also have a long list of FS15 mods that I also want to share and I plan to continue showcasing FS15 mods even after the release of FS17.  At least for a short period of time.

The mod I want to showcase today is the Trailer Sounds mod.  This mod is pretty much exactly as it sounds, when pulling a trailer you’ll hear the typical noise you could expect.  I’m talking about the creaks, pops, bangs and clangs.  This mod might not be for everyone, but since adding it…I do enjoy it.  It matches up well with the newly added “brake sounds” tweak which is easily done if you use the Drive Control Mod.  You can learn more about the brake sounds tweak by joining the PC-SG Simulation Gaming group and viewing this post.

If you are interested in adding some creaks, pops, bangs and clangs (along with tire sounds) then continue reading.

How can I get this mod?

The Trailer Sounds Mod is available here.  I have personally downloaded, installed and tested this mod.  The mod works and I use it on all my maps.

How do I install this mod?

Please see my blog post “How to Install Mods in Farming Simulator 15” for complete instructions.

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

FS15 Mod Review–Portable Grain Auger

As I’ve mentioned on my most recently blog updates, I’ve been playing the Oklahoma map and absolutely loving it.  Oklahoma is a 4x map and it’s HUGE.  I’m playing it with a heavy influence to raising cattle and horses and as a result farming the few fields I’ve managed to purchase to both support my efforts as well as area local farmers.  I’m still very much in the process of getting my equipment the way I want it.  I’m saving some cash, purchasing and renting equipment as necessary.  As this map does not feature built in auger systems for storage of grass, straw and silage the occasional gathering of these items will need to be done manually.  While I’ll eventually purchase a wheel loader, tele-handler and probably a skid steer to assist on the farm, these items are somewhat lower on my priority list at this time.

My goal as I began playing the Oklahoma map was to begin generating some cash through the sell of the wheat crop, but also begin the process of making total mixed rations (TMR) for the small amount of livestock I already owned.  I rented a tractor and loading wagon to pickup the straw from the wheat crop.  I then mowed enough grass to accumulate approx. 250,000 liters of grass and then finally I chaffed most of the corn crop for silage.  Again without built-in augers….I needed an efficient and fast way of loading these materials when the time arrived to start feeding and supplying the mixing station.

I had recently read comments on various Farming Simulator forums discussing a portable auger from the Sakudiak Equipment company.  In real life, these are known as Meridian Augers and are sold and used all over.  The mod is slightly un-realistic as it can be driven around under its own power.  For my efforts in “Realism through Simulation”, I move the auger around via tractor and make fine adjustments using the augers own power.  The auger would be small enough for one man to move and fine tune it so that is what I’m simulating.

Anyway….the Sakundiak auger sells for $15,000 (rental price of $50 per hour) and carries a daily maintenance charge of $10.  A hitch is available (separate purchase) for $50.00.  The hitch needs to be connected first to the towing vehicle and then connect the auger.

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How can I get this mod?

The Sakundiak Auger is available here.  I have personally downloaded, installed and tested this mod.  The mod works and I use it on all my maps.

How do I install this mod?

Please see my blog post “How to Install Mods in Farming Simulator 15” for complete instructions.

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

FS15 Mod Review–Buy Bales

Happy Friday!!!

I’m sure you must know the struggle each of us have when just starting out on a new map.  Especially if you are itching to get started with livestock.  Of course I’m talking about the lack of having any hay or straw on day one.  First we must harvest the wheat or barley crop, then rake and either bale or pickup the straw with a forage wagon.  In so many cases we don’t have these pieces of equipment when just starting out and equally we lack the funds to purchase them.

Finally…someone has developed the Buy Bales mod which (just as the name implies) allows for the purchase of straw or hay bales from the store.  As the mod description reads, you can choose either straw or hay bales and they will appear stacked at the vehicle shop, these bales will function as any bale made with a baler.  The purchase of bales include either 8 straw bales or 8 hay bales.  These are available under the Misc category.  The cost for 8 straw bales is $6,200 and 8 hay bales is $9,600.  The rental mod seems to accept these as rentable…but of course that shouldn’t be the case.

My Feedback

It’s unfortunate this mod is coming out in the final weeks before Farming Simulator 17 is due to be released.  This mod could very well be one of the more important mods a virtual farmer should consider and it’s been seriously lacking in game play.  After all, we as farmers can sell our straw and hay bales, why haven’t we been able to purchase them?

Now at first glance you may think “Wow that seems expensive”!  Well….let’s break it down.  In looking at the straw bales, 8 bales for $6,200 comes out to $775.00 per bale.  If I’m not mistaken, bales when sold by us farmers earn around $600-650 (I’m guessing from memory, but don’t think I’m far off).  So yea…there is a price difference.  But this would be expected as when we sell a hay bale, we are selling at wholesale prices, but purchasing at retail.  That’s business!

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The only negative comments I have toward this mod is A.  It shouldn’t be rentable.  B. Perhaps it should be deliverable.  When you purchase a stack of hay or straw bales, you must retrieve them from the store versus having them reset to the farm.  Perhaps the mod could be expanded upon to offer two different types.  One being slightly more expensive to cover the delivery/stacking charge.  The only reason I’m suggested this is because the beginner farmer may not have all the necessary equipment to efficiently move the 8 bales from the shop to the farm.

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How can I get this mod?

The Buy Bales mod is located here.  I have personally downloaded, installed and tested this mod.  The mod works and I use it on all my maps.

How do I install this mod?

Please see my blog post “How to Install Mods in Farming Simulator 15” for complete instructions.

Until next time…

Happy Hauling!!!

Jerry

FS15 Mod Review–Oklahoma Map

As discussed just a few days ago, I started a new map (new to me) called Oklahoma.  I have been looking for some time for a map which would fit a farm based in Eastern Colorado and my search results have never been fruitful.  While the Oklahoma map is based in Oklahoma, the map (including soil textures) could also be located in far eastern Colorado in what is known as the Five State Region.  This region is one of the largest producers of feed grains and livestock in the United States.  In addition to the typical crops of corn, barley and wheat, this area also produces large amounts of alfalfa and sorghum.  This is exactly how I plan to run this map.

Please note:  All photographs are credit to the mod author and obtained directly from the American Eagles Modding website.

The Map

Again, this is a 4x map with large fields (51 fields in total) with the largest field at 500+ acres and the smallest about 7 acres.  For those of you who are not fans of forestry, trains, missions and don’t want to earn fast money with a BGA, then this map may appeal to you.  The Oklahoma map is about farming and ranching, as a result you’ll really need some massive equipment to keep (and help) to stay on top of it all.  While this map would be a great map for multiplayer, it can also be farmed solo with the aid of CoursePlay.   I plan to farm it solo and will rely (not heavily) on CoursePlay to assist me.  After all, a farm this size would employ many employees.

It appears the Oklahoma map was released several months ago and has been updated to version 2.  I typically try to stay away from newly released version 1.x maps as these will frequently have bugs and when new versions are released to address these bugs it may require a full restart of the map play.  While I’ve done this in the past, it certainly isn’t the desired action.

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Starting Equipment

I’ve played many large 4x maps in the past and some start you out with either a large amount of equipment or as in the case of Graceland, a large sum of money.  The Oklahoma map is slightly different as you take ownership of the main farm and own three fields (Fields 1, 2 and 3) which have already been planted and are ready for harvest.  The starting equipment you’ll find waiting for you are two Case IH Axial-Flow 9230 Combines complete with large grain and corn headers.  One MAN TGS 18.440 Truck with the Krampe SB 30/60 Tipper.  Finally you have one white pickup (Piqup) to help you move around the large farm.

No, I didn’t leave anything out.  As you are starting out you don’t own any tractors, plows, sowing machines, balers, forage wagons etc.  The idea is you’ll need to get your crops harvested and sold and then begin adding additional equipment as needed.  The rental mod may prove to be your best asset as you begin building your farming empire.

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Map Strategy

There are many ways to tackle the initial strategy for making a living on a new map.  In most cases the need to purchase new equipment, upgrade existing equipment and purchase additional fields are high on the priority list.  Maps which include forestry, missions or a BGA can certainly aid in the fast-track process.  However, as previously stated the Oklahoma map offer none of these.  I view this as a positive change from the standard maps.  As I would frequently use the BGA to quickly build up my cash-on-hand, not having the BGA is making me re-think my strategy.

All 51 fields have been planted and are ready to harvest when you start a new game.  As a result, I’ve turned off plant withering and also I’m not using soilmod with this map at this time.  My initial strategy has been to harvest crops from my three owned fields (wheat, sunflower and corn).    With the wheat crop, I set the harvester to leave the swath and after selling the first few loads of wheat I had enough cash to rent a tractor and large forage wagon.  I picked up enough straw to fill the mixing station and managed to place into storage over 500,000 liters.  The rest I sold to help generate more cash-on-hand for rental purposes.  Next I proceeded to rent a large John Deere 9630, cultivator and Air-Seeder so I could replant the harvested fields.

With regards to the ready to harvest fields which I don’t currently own.  Most maps I’ve played which featured already planted crops in un-owned fields, I’ve just left alone until such time I could afford them.  With this map, at least in the early stages I’m going to harvest the crops on behalf of the bank with the intention of purchasing afterwards.

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Livestock, Livestock, Livestock

The Oklahoma map is really geared towards raising livestock including cows, sheep, pigs, chickens and horses.  At the start of game play, you already own a few head of each and all animal types have the necessary feed items available to them.  Of course, this won’t last long so it will be important to get started quickly stockpiling straw, grass, chaff (for silage) and get the mixing station processing TMR.  To get a jump start, I rented the necessary equipment.  I picked up the straw from the wheat harvest using the large forage wagon.  I rented the Krone Big X and the EasyCollect header and managed to fill both silage bunkers to 100% (still had corn left in the field) and then rented mowing equipment and managed to collect approx. 250,000 liters of grass.  Again, I plan to run a large amount of livestock on this farm and slowly getting everything in place.

Oklahoma also offers fattening of animals including chickens, calves, pigs and horses.  The last map I played which offered fattening of animals seemed to have an issue with the way the fattening and selling process worked.  Basically when you made your initial purchase of animals (example 10 calves), then once these were fattened and ready for slaughter you still had the original 10 animals.  It appears with the Oklahoma map, that once they reach slaughter weight and you sell the animal, then the total animal count is reduced.

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Manual Operations

Most maps I’ve typically played have offered built in augers for loading stored materials such as grass, straw, silage etc.  Oklahoma offers none of that.  It’s all done manually with either a portable auger or front end loader.  I’ve found a new portable auger which I’ll review soon.  I’m sure it will come in handy on this map.

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Summary

I’ve spent about 10-12 hours or so on the Oklahoma map.  I really enjoy it.  I don’t tend to farm multiple maps simultaneously, so I figure Oklahoma should keep me busy (and entertained) until Farming Simulator 17 releases.  While I don’t plan to document each and every day on Oklahoma, I will occasionally provide updates and details on how I’m playing this map. If you are looking for a challenge, give Oklahoma a look.  Good luck!

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

Jerry

FS Mod Review–48’ Dakota Spread Axle Trailer

It’s been a while since I’ve released a mod review for Farming Simulator 15.  I had just about decided not to release any additional FS15 mod reviews as we are less than two months from the release of FS17.  But I also believe many will continue to use FS15 for some time and may benefit from these reviews.  As a general rule, I really only write mod reviews for mods which I use.  But this works towards your advantage as you can be certain the mod truly works.  As I’ve started farming another large 4x map, I have several new pieces of equipment queued up to test and review in the coming weeks.  I think you’ll like what I have planned.  Finally….YES, I will be reviewing FS17 mods as they become available and as I need them in my farming efforts.  As with all my mods, you can find my complete list here.

There are many reasons why we choose to use mods in our games.  While Giants has done an outstanding job in providing a variety of default equipment in Farming Simulator 15, a lot of this equipment has more of a European look/feel to it.  If you are striving for an “As Real As It Gets” experience and you are also farming on a map set in the USA then this newly discovered 48’ Dakota Spread Axle trailer might just be the thing you are looking for.

I’ve started farming on a brand new (new to me) 4x map called Oklahoma.  I know….I know….for anyone who knows me, you know I’m a native Texan living in Colorado.  As most native Texans will agree…Oklahoma and Texas have a rivalry that goes back many, many years.   Anyway, I was looking for a new map….I wanted a larger map and one that was set in the USA.  While the Oklahoma map is situated in the state of Oklahoma, it could also be just about anywhere else (including eastern Colorado).  I will release an in-depth review of the Oklahoma map for FS15 in the next few days.

As you can see from the screenshot below, the 48’ Dakota sells for $45,750 (rental price of $152 per hour) and carries a maintenance charge of $75 per day.  The capacity of the trailer is 47,572 liters.

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These trailers are CoursePlay friendly and work well when using the auger wagon or hauling grain to market.  They might be a tad long when using to empty a combine directly as the turning radius is quite large.

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They attach well to the default MAN truck.  However, I noticed an issue when testing with the default Tatra Phoenix.  I’ve tested with other trucks including the International Transtar II (shown below) which I use in my farming operations on the Oklahoma map..

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The trailer has a few interesting pieces of eye-candy including a folding ladder, top cover and even Oklahoma license plate.

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How can I get this mod?

The 48’ Dakota Spread Axle Trailer mod is available here.  I have personally downloaded, installed and tested this mod.  The mod works and I use it on all my maps.

How do I install this mod?

Please see my blog post “How to Install Mods in Farming Simulator 15” for complete instructions.

Until next time…

Happy Hauling!!!

Jerry

FS Mod Review–Bednar Atlas AM 15M Cultivator

I’ve recently started playing the wonderful Graceland map by NOR3MSTI (same map developer that created the States map).  You can download version 4.x from American Eagles Modding.  Anyway, much like his States map, Graceland is a large map.  It represents your typical mid-west USA type farm operation.  It’s BIG on farming and it’s BIG on animals.  The map includes your typical chickens, dairy cows and sheep…but also includes the fattening operation for chickens, cows, sheep, pigs AND lamb.  Graceland also sets itself apart from other maps I’ve played by including no equipment (other than the in-game pickup).  In easy mode you start out with 10 million dollars, in normal 5 million and in hard mode 2.5 million.  This blog article is starting to sound like a mod review for Graceland, I’ll do that at a later time.

In my own personal effort of “Realism through Simulation” I strive to do things as accurately as possible.  Or at the very least as accurately as both FS15 and my limited knowledge of farming will allow.  While I can harvest a field and turn around and direct seed it without taking the necessary time to cultivate it first, my “Realism through Simulation” effort tells me this is a cheap shortcut and not how I play the game.  However, in my quest of “Realism through Simulation” I am not interested in using heavily modded equipment which breaks with realism.  In other words, the 47.4m cultivator some use will not be seen anywhere near my farms.  Finally, my criteria is also not so structured that I’m going to count the number of bolts and/or compare paint swatches.  My mod criteria simply needs to be within a range of what would be seen in the real world and function well within the virtual world of FS15.

So in an effort to find a suitable cultivator to help me manage the large fields on the Graceland map, I searched several of the common FS15 mod sites.  I began comparing what I could find versus real world data.  The cultivator I chose (and the one I’m reviewing for you today) is the Bednar Strom Atlas AM 15m cultivator.  Bednar Farm Machinery is a real world company based in the Czech Republic.  While I could not find this exact cultivator model in the 15.5 meter width on their website (the largest in the AM class is 12 meters), but plenty of real world cultivators including John Deere, Case etc. are made in the 40-50 foot range.

Note:  actually in conducting more research after the purchase and initial use of the Bednar, I have found a nice John Deere 50’ cultivator which I’ll test and possibly review later.  If the JD model works as well as the Bednar (or better) then I’ll likely use the JD.

As you can see below, the Bednar can be purchased for $68,200 and costs $15/Day Maintenance.  The required power is 257 kW/350 HP and has a working width of 15.5 meters.

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At the time I conducted this review, all of my smaller tractors (NH T8’s and Case Magnum’s were busy doing other things) I had this massive NH T9 available so I paired it up with the Bednar cultivator.  As you can tell from the image below, the Bednar is brand new and still clean.  But that won’t last long.

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This is field #2 which is typically planted in wheat.  I had finished the harvest and picked up the straw yesterday.

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Lots of wonderful dirt and dust animation.  Plus the Bednar cultivator gets nice and dirty just as you would expect.

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The Bednar cultivator pulls nicely behind the NH T9.  But then again I would expect it.  The cultivator handles nicely when driven in manual mode and also works well with CoursePlay.

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The Bednar cultivator looks great when at work and when in transport back from the fields.

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How can I get this mod?

The Bednar Atlas AM 15m cultivator mod is available here.  I have personally downloaded, installed and tested this mod.  The mod works and I use it on all my maps.

 

How do I install this mod?

Please see my blog post “How to Install Mods in Farming Simulator 15” for complete instructions.

Until next time…

Happy Cultivating!!!

Jerry

FS15 Mod Review–AutoTractor

Last week I reviewed the AutoCombine mod.  I’m quite pleased with how the AutoCombine mod performs.  Especially on non-square/rectangle fields surrounded with fences, trees, shrubs etc.  In recent weeks I’ve been playing the Coldborough Park Farm map and AutoCombine has truly been a blessing.  I installed the AutoTractor mod hoping it might do equally well.  Unfortunately, AutoTractor just doesn’t work well enough for me to use it.

Here’s the deal with mods like AutoCombine, AutoTractor, CoursePlay etc. or even the default “Hire A Worker” feature.  These mods or functions are not perfect.  You just simply can’t drive a tractor, combine etc. to a field and expect it to perform a perfect job each and every time.  If anything, these mods do often emulate the difficulties a farmer would have with his/her hired workers.  In real life, some employees work very hard and do everything just as one would expect, but some do not.  This is more or less what we can expect when we use these types of mods that emulate a hired worker performing the task or seeding, fertilizing or harvesting.

Again, much like AutoCombine…the AutoTractor mod simply adds a few more features to the default “Hire a Worker” function in FS15.  But unlike AutoCombine…it just do as good of a job.  As a matter of fact, I really couldn’t get it to do much at all.

The HUD for AutoTractor

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How can I get this mod?

The AutoTractor mod is available here.  I have personally downloaded, installed and tested this mod.  Unfortunately, I’ve found this mod is just not for me.  While AutoCombine handles odd shaped fields slightly better than CoursePlay, the same can’t be said for AutoTractor.  While CoursePlay does struggle in the tractor dept. with odd shaped fields, I find it is still better to use CP than AutoTractor.  I will keep an eye on this mod and when/if an update is made available, I’ll download it, test it and review it again if necessary.

 

How do I install this mod?

Please see my blog post “How to Install Mods in Farming Simulator 15” for complete instructions.

Until next time…

Happy Baling!!!

Jerry

FS15 Mod Review–AutoCombine

I’ve been a HUGE fan of Courseplay and while I had heard about the AutoCombine mod, I really never had a need to use it.  After all, on most of the maps I’ve played in the past…Courseplay worked mostly well.  I say “mostly well” only because Courseplay is certainly not without issue.  I wrote about some of the struggles we all face with using Courseplay here and here.  One of the reasons for looking more closely at the AutoCombine mod was due to the fact that Courseplay is really challenged with fields which are not mostly square or rectangle shaped.

A few weeks ago I began playing the Coldborough Park Farm map.  This is a wonderful map based on a real world farm in Herefordshire, England.  If you haven’t played this map, you can download it here.  This map consists of mostly small irregular shaped fields all bordered with fences and hedges.  As previously stated, Courseplay really and truly works best when the fields are relatively large, square or rectangle and have plenty of room between the fields edge and any obstacles such as trees, hedges or fences.

For the most part, AutoCombine functions similar to the default “Hire a Worker” function of FS15 but is more customizable.  Another way to look at the AutoCombine mod is it includes the features Giants left out of their default “Hire a Worker” function.

The GUI for AutoCombine is shown below.

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I have found I really only use 6 of the buttons on the GUI.  I’ll provide a brief description of each:  1. Start/Stop  2.  Empty while driving or while stopped  3.  Active Side Left  4.  Active Side Right  5.  Auto Combine or Standard Hire a Worker  6.  Harvest mode (circles or up and down)

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I typically will start my combine manually and get it into the field and headed in the direction I want it to go.  I will then click button number 6 to select the circular option.  The combine will continue to harvest in this method until you stop it.  Keep a watchful eye on the combine during the first headland cut.  If there are nearby obstacles (fences, hedges, trees) these may cause problems.  But once the combine cuts the first headland (completes the first trip around the field), it will generally continue without issue as it will have enough room to turn without crashing into an obstacle.  After the combine cuts 2-3 headlands, I may stop it and use button 6 again to start an up and down cut.

Possible Issues

Obstacles

Much like Courseplay, there are no guarantees that AutoCombine will automatically work without issues.  Obstacles such as trees, fences, gates, other equipment etc. may cause AutoCombine to stop.  Just like the real world, you will want to occasionally check on your hired workers.   But I’ve found AutoCombine does seem to handle odd shaped fields a little better than Courseplay.

Crop Separation

AutoCombine will likely stop in the scenario below.  In this scenario, we have separated our wheat crop. Once the combine harvests all the wheat in this smaller section, AutoCombine will most think it is done and shut down.  You will then need to manually drive the combine back up to the large portion of un-harvested wheat and start it back up.

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How can I get this mod?

The AutoCombine mod is available here.  I have personally downloaded, installed and tested this mod.  The mod works and I use it on all my maps.

 

How do I install this mod?

Please see my blog post “How to Install Mods in Farming Simulator 15” for complete instructions.

Until next time…

Happy Harvesting!!!

Jerry

FS Mod Review–Bale Counter

While baling hay or straw, do you wonder just how many bales you’ve made?  Wonder no more with the Bale Counter mod.  This mod is super simple in both its approach and function.  It’s so simple, this will likely be one of the shortest blog postings I’ve written.

Once the mod has been installed you’ll notice a small change to the HUD in the lower right corner of the screen.  The addition of two new icons which resemble bales of hay will appear and a count.

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In the example above, I had been baling and accumulated a total of 8 bales from the field.

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If you want to reset the count, just click the “R” key and that will reset the count on the left side.  The count on the right will remain to indicate the total number of bales created.

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How can I get this mod?

The bale counter mod is available here.  I have personally downloaded, installed and tested this mod.  The mod works and I use it on all my maps.

How do I install this mod?

Please see my blog post “How to Install Mods in Farming Simulator 15” for complete instructions.

Until next time…

Happy Baling!!!

Jerry