Soilmod–My First Impressions

Ok, so this really isn’t my first impression of the Soilmod.  I did mess around with it several months ago and failed miserably to grasp the concept.  I really had a lot of things going on and just couldn’t take the necessary time to research how this mod changes Farming Simulator 15.  But I’ve got to admit that I’m actually enjoying the challenge of using the soilmod and while I’m not sure if I could say I would never farm without it, I’d have to say I’m very close.  Yes, I did just recently mention I was starting to use it again.  But this post comes about a week into my endeavour and I’ve planted and harvested my first field.  I’m pleased with the results.

Before we really dive into my understanding of this wonderful mod, allow me to briefly state how the vanilla (default) game reacts to our process of field preparation, planting, fertilizing and harvesting of our crops.  This won’t take very long as we all know the vanilla version of FS15 really only cares about if we seed a field and we earn a bonus for fertilizing.  That’s really it.  We don’t need to worry about the condition of the soil as it relates to anything at all.  It’s dirt and it will grow crops.  We don’t need to worry about moisture, we don’t need to worry about pH levels and it doesn’t matter if we spread or spray fertilizer.  Speaking of fertilizer, there is no set timeframe for when to apply the fertilizer.  It can be done before planting or after planting.  Just as long as the fertilizer is applied BEFORE the crop heads into the final growth stage you’ll enjoy the bonus of a higher crop yield.  Because of this, I’ve never messed with using liquid sprayers.

My old workflow (before soilmod) typically would be to plow or cultivate the field after the last harvest,  While not required and no added benefit, I just did this because I really had nothing better to do.  I would then mostly likely spread fertilizer and soon after seed the field.  Even on a large map like States or Graceland, I could manage as many fields as I could afford.  I typically didn’t have plant withering turned on.

Impacts of Soilmod

Soilmod changes everything and I do mean EVERYTHING about FS15.  All the things I previously mentioned that we didn’t need to worry about in the vanilla game are now areas we MUST think about.  When you install the Soilmod mod into FS15, it radically transforms Farming Simulator 15 from just a game into a real life farming simulator.

Before I go further, I would suggest you take the time to watch two YouTube videos on the subject of the soilmod.  The first video is about 18 minutes in length and if you are like me, I had to watch it several times before I really grasped all it was telling me.

The second video is just over 5 minutes and provides a high level overview of the soilmod.

As I’ve spent several days and many hours reading about the soilmod and attempting to put into practice what I’ve learned on my virtual farm, I’ve also been trying to accumulate additional information to assist me as I go about re-developing my workflow.

Here are a few helpful (at least I find them helpful) reference materials:

Soilmod Reference Sheet (2.0.22)

Soilmod Reference Sheet and Field Planner

Soilmod Manager (1.1)

Soilmod Calculation Tool (2.02)

For me, I find the Soilmod Calculation Tool to be the most useful.   I typically use that to plot and plan how I will initially start the planting process.  I’ve developed my own workflow checklist which is sort of a mishmash of all these tools into something I can comprehend.  I print these and have them on my clipboard in the virtual farm office.  I can quickly at a glance see what needs to be done and I can record the daily numbers for each field to make sure I’m on track to a good harvest.

Putting everything to use

I struggled in the first few days of keeping all my tasks sorted.  As I pointed out, Soilmod really does change things.  No longer can you just plant, fertilize and then sit back and watch the wheat grow.  The soilmod really forces you to be a lot more attentive to details.  In addition, you can’t rely on creating the plan based on soil conditions and weather forecast on day 1.  Just like in real life, wait 5 minutes and the weather forecast will change.  Unfortunately, each time you start up FS15 the weather forecast is recalculated.  So on the first day, the weather forecast might show one or more days with temperatures above 22 degrees celcius.  Temps above 22 c will have a negative impact on soil moisture.  However, if you shutdown FS15 and restart, you may see a completely different weather forecast.  From my understanding, the only thing that won’t change is the frequency of rain.  If rain is shown in the forecast, then each time you restart FS15 the opportunity for rain will remain.

Coming Days

Over the next few days I will provide more information regarding my use of the soilmod in FS15.  I plan to record and release several YouTube videos documenting the planning and workflow I use.   This video series will step you through each of the multi-day processes including field planning, preparation, planting all the way up through harvest.

Bottom Line

As you may soon learn and especially after you watch the 5 part YouTube series I have recorded documenting my workflow for the preparation, planting, daily maintenance and eventual harvest that the Soilmod is not for everyone.  I really couldn’t agree more with that statement.  So I’ll say it again, the Soilmod is not for everyone.  However, if you are wanting to take your virtual farming to the next level…then at the very least, you should give Soilmod a solid try.  Find a map which is Soilmod ready, install the soilmod mod and get to work.  Will you be successful?  Will you fail?  Perhaps the answer to both of those questions will be YES!  But you’ll learn….and you’ll improve…and you’ll feel a level of satisfaction from your game play.  YES…you will also work hard at it.

Please return tomorrow for the first part of a five part YouTube series showcasing my process and workflow as I plant a field of wheat on Graceland with the soilmod installed.

Until next time…

Happy Farming!!!

J


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