June 17, 2015 / admin / 0 Comments
I’m slowly in the process of starting up a new map adventure using the much talked about States v6 map. States v6 is only available from American Eagles Modding and you must be a member (it is free to join) in order to download the map. I’m not about to give up on Ringwoods Farm, but as I’ve been farming Ringwoods for the past month or so and before that had been farming the default Westbridge Hills (Ringwoods is based on Westbridge but mucho better), I felt I needed a change. So I have been looking at map alternatives and set about defining a few requirements.
First, while I have nothing against maps based in the UK, Europe etc. I really wanted to stick with a USA based map. Second, while I truly love the challenge of all the fences, gates and trees in Ringwoods…I also wanted to find a map with less fencing and gates. Third, I’m really not into the logging/forestry aspect of the game…so my map selection could certainly exclude this and I would be OK. Finally, after farming on Ringwoods and getting spoiled to some of the “bells and whistles” such as conveyors and the mixing station mod, I was looking for a map where these types of features were already built in. I also wanted the ability to raise pigs, beef and chickens for market and wanted the variety of the additional fruit types (cotton, oats, sunflower, soybeans and sorghum). I had heard about States a few weeks ago and with the recent release of version 6, I decided to give it a try.
Some fine print before I proceed. I’ve been watching a few YouTube videos regarding the soil mod. I also printed off all the documentation I could find on this mod. I’ll be honest and say upfront that I’m perhaps more confused after reading it than I was before hand. I’ve decided to leave out the soil mod (for now) and just spend some time learning the new map and farming at my pace without the needed worry about pH levels and those dreaded weeds. But understand, I said the same thing about the PMDG aircraft a few years ago. I said they were too complex to learn etc. Both the PMDG 737, 777 and 747 are some of my favorite aircraft and I rarely fly anything other than these aircraft. So having said that, I will eventually experiment with the soil mod and I’ll learn it and when I do, I’ll share it all here in this blog. But for now, I’ve left the soil mod out of States v6.
The States v6 map is a large map. It features wide open spaces and really is designed for BIG equipment and lots of it. It includes all the features I had desired in a new map and even some new features to try out. From the start you own four fields (1, 5, 6 and 9). Fields 6 and 9 are planted with wheat and soybean. The map is also pre-populated with 250 dairy cows and 100 sheep.
As I just stated, States v6 is HUGE. You start off with a lot of equipment including four New Holland Combines (CR10.90) with the BIG 45’ headers. You also get three New Holland T8.435’s (Trax models) along with one NH T9.565 and the massive Case Quadtrac 620 (which I sold). You also get mowers, tippers, loading wagons, wheel loader, fertilizer spreaders, sprayers, baler…and more. I ended up selling the mowers, baler and a few other pieces of equipment so I could afford the Krone Big M500 mower mod from OEB Modding. With three large fields pre-planted in grass, I wanted something with a wide working width and the Big M500 will row the grass. This will save both time and effort.
On day 1, I used Courseplay to get the Krone Big M500 cutting grass. I split the initial grass harvest between getting the cows and sheep fed and moved about 200,000 liters to the silage bunker just next to the cows. I already compacted and have it fermenting. The rest of the grass will be moved to the BGA. Also, I put one of the four combines to work in field 6 harvesting wheat and moving the straw to storage. Just as soon as the grass has fermented into silage, I’ll have all I need to mix up the first batch of TMR. The way I figure, as I already have 250 dairy cows I need to get them producing at 110% ASAP to take advantage of increased milk production as well as manure and slurry. While I don’t plan to use either as fertilizer, both can be sold to help increase my available cash.
I’m also seriously thinking about selling two of the four combines and headers. It may be some time before I can actually get all four combines working with enough tractors/tippers to support them. I really need to generate enough cash to purchase the Krone BigX and get a field of corn planted to cut as chaff to send to the BGA. Selling silage at the BGA is a quick way of generating a lot of income in a relatively short period of time. You can read my blog article titled Getting Rich Quick on Ringwoods Farm which very much applies to States v6 as well. I may also try out theRental Mod as well for a few pieces of equipment until I can get enough available cash. We’ll see how it goes…
Until next time…
May 29, 2015 / admin / 0 Comments
In the initial stages of building your farming empire, grass will be a key element. Most maps provide an almost endless supply and you’ll need to quickly get started mowing in order to provide feed to sheep and dairy cows. In addition, you may want to cut grass to kick start your silage making process. Finally, cut grass does have value and a loading wagon full will bring you some quick cash for a little bit of effort. But after some time you might want to consider corn as the better silage producing solution especially if you plan to keep a large population of livestock on the farm.
But regardless, mowing grass will always be a task you’ll need to routinely do if you plan to raise livestock. Your sheep population will work at 110% with grass and water. But your dairy cattle will need a little more than just grass and water to get them up to 110% production. Actually…a lot more! You’ll need the important TMR or total mixed ration. In terms of Farming Simulator 2015, TMR is a mix of hay, straw and silage. You can use the “in game” mixing wagons to load your hay and straw bales along with silage. From what I’ve read in the forums, the mixture is typically one bale of hay, one bale of straw and four buckets of silage.
If you are playing on the Ringwoods Farm map (like I am) or have installed one of the placeable mixing station mods, then all you really need to do is fill the mixing station and it will mix and portion the correct blend of materials to make TMR. The mixing station which is pre-installed on the Ringwoods Farm map (there are two) will hold 50,000 liters of hay, straw and silage. A full station easily supports my 75 dairy cows and 25 calves with much to spare.
As I use these mixing stations to support my growing livestock population, I do not need to bale hay or straw. I typically will pickup the straw from my wheat and barley harvests and store that material in my large shed. In addition, I grow most of my corn for chaff production and will send a portion to the BGA bunker and the other half to my south farm bunker to ferment into silage. But of course I still need a steady supply of hay for TMR.
As I said at the top of the blog posting, there is an almost endless supply of grass on most maps. Most fields will have fairly large borders of grass and mowing the grass areas along side the roads is also a great idea. I routinely drive a tractor with a front mounted mower pulling the small Euroboss pickup wagon. However, I also have a small field planted in grass. This field is located near my cow farm and on average will yield about 60,000 liters of grass or hay.
Using the windrower to gather up the grass for easy pickup.
Now what I’m going to tell you next was learned somewhat by accident. I had been mowing this field every day in order to build up a stockpile of hay. I would cut the grass, tedder the grass to turn it into hay, rake the hay into windrows with the windrower and then finally collect it with my large loading wagon. But one day after I mowed, I got distracted with harvesting cotton and sunflower and failed to finish the rest of the steps. Once I completed the rest of the tasks on the farm it was getting near dark so I bumped up the time to fast forward to the next day. As the sun was rising on my brand new day I set out to complete my usual tasks. Low and behold, I realized I had left cut grass on field 10 and new grass had of course grown. Of course, this is what would happen in real life.
The large 50,000 liter loading wagon makes quick work in picking up grass, hay or straw.
I climbed into my tractor and mowed field 10, I then ran the tedder over it, raked it and picked up the hay. I was pleasantly surprised to learn the yield had almost doubled from 60,000 on a single cut to 99,356 liters with the double cut. Considering it takes the same amount of time to tedder and rake the field regardless if it’s been cut once or twice and only slightly longer (due to more trips to dump the grass/hay) this seems to be an easy way to almost double the yield.
Dumping grass to add to my growing stockpile of grass/hay, straw and silage.
I haven’t tested if I cut the grass each day for three days, four days or five days if the yield will continue to increase. But if I don’t have time to cut, rake and gather one day…I do typically mow and then will mow again the next day and complete the process. This of course would likely NOT be the process in real life. But then again this is just our virtual farming world and what ever we decide to make of it.
I hope you enjoy this tip and I hope it helps you. Thanks for reading!
Until next time…
P.S. I did conduct another test where I mowed field 10 for five consecutive days (around the same time each day) then I ran the tedder over it, raked it and picked up the hay. The result of this test was only 100,156 liters of hay which is only slightly more than the two day test I had conducted last week. So unfortunately instead of getting five times the yield, I still only received two times the yield. This end result probably best illustrates actual real-life results where the cut grass would eventually impede the growth of new grass. Bottom line: You can certainly cut the grass the first day then cut the second day again (or second growth cycle) then tedder, rake and pickup and receive the extra yield for slightly less work. But any more than twice is just wasted effort on the part of mowing. You won’t get any benefit from it.
May 22, 2015 / admin / 0 Comments
I’ve been computer farming with Farming Simulator 2015 for a few months now. During all this time I’ve only ever grown and harvested the default plant types of wheat, barley, canola, corn (both for selling in the shops and for silage production) along with potatoes and sugar beets. I recently began farming on the brand new Ringwoods Final v1.8 map created by the very talented Stevie. I had spent almost a month on his v1.7 but that map still only allowed the default type grains and fruits. This new Ringwoods v1.8 includes sunflower, soybean, oats, sorghum and cotton. Check out the latest update with version 1.81 available here.
Starting over with a cash injection to cover purchasing new equipment and all the fields I owned in v1.7, I began planting my crops on the new v1.8 map. I started with the basics of wheat, barley and canola. I then planted the field closest to the BGA with corn. I planned to split the harvest between the BGA bunkers and the bunker at the south farm location. This would allow me to get a jump on silage production for my dairy cattle. Of course I also needed some of the straw from the first harvest of either wheat or barley. Going into multi-task mode, I also managed to mow, tedder, rake and collect the loose hay again with the goal of jump starting my total mixed rations (TMR) production. Once the first crops were ready to harvest I was up early to make a good start in getting it all done. The hard work paid off, the dairy cattle are performing at 110%.
Next I set out to do some experimentation with the new fruit types I have the ability to plant and grow on this new map. I planted a small field in cotton and sunflower to start off with. I’m really looking forward to harvesting the cotton. In real life I drive from Colorado to Texas to visit family. Cotton is grown in much of the panhandle and far northwest Texas region. Generally on both sides of the road and as far as one can see are cotton plants. Depending on the time of year we visit, you can also see the large bales of cotton sitting around. In addition, the area is covered in loose pieces of cotton. It’s all very cool to see.
Harvesting the new cotton crop with the New Holland CR10.90
I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to go about harvesting the new fields I planted in cotton and sunflower. But I quickly found out all I needed was my trusty New Holland Combine and the 9m header I use for corn. This header will also work for sorghum and soybeans. Of course, the oats will be done with the same header I use for the grains (wheat, barley, canola). Having the ability to harvest all these new fruits is keeping me busy and I’m enjoying the variety. I’ve dedicated the jumbo sized fields of 8 to wheat, 15 to canola and 16/17 to barley. I’m then growing the new fruit types of cotton, sorghum, sunflower, soybean and oats on the smaller fields throughout the map.
Early morning sunrise down on Jerry’s Farm. This field of sunflowers will be ready to harvest soon.
If you are interested in growing something other than wheat, barley, canola etc. Check out the Ringwoods Farm map and try your hand at these new opportunities.
Until next time…